Assistant News Editor
This Valentine’s Day, Wheaton students were given the opportunity to spread some love to women working in the adult entertainment industry in the Chicagoland area.
During the weeks leading up to Feb. 14, the Christian Feminist Club sponsored a gift drive for New Name, a ministry of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn that focuses on reaching out to women in the adult entertainment industry through prayer and support, including a call center.
Participating Wheaton students received a pink gift bag and were given a list of items with which to fill the bags: Winter accessories, soaps, candy and makeup were on the list of suggestions.
Club officer and senior Alyssa Norbeck said in an email, “We do a lot of awareness-raising events, and we wanted to try something different. This was a more tangible and practical way of helping women in need and to reach beyond the scope of the campus to the greater DuPage area.”
Norbeck said that New Name visits approximately 13 venues weekly, such as erotic massage parlors, adult bars and strip clubs.
Hoping to foster relationships with women, New Name offers them gift bags as a way to “break the barrier” in their places of business.
In addition to sending visitors to the women at work, New Name serves as a call center. After accessing the telephone numbers of women who are escorts or selling sexual services, one woman will call the person in the advertisement, and the other woman will pray as they ask the woman on the receiving end of the line if she needs any resources or feels safe.
“Of course, we get a lot of hang-ups, but we also get to pray with quite a few women, which is always awesome,” Norbeck said.
When asked why a Wheaton student should be aware of ministries such as New Name, Anne Polencheck, who has been leading the ministry for the past two years, said, “I think, as Christians, we are called to share the love of Christ through prayer and action to those in our community. The women and girls that are in this industry are part of our community.”
“If (Wheaton students) truly understand that grace is an undeserved gift and that we are all created in his image regardless of our stories, then reaching out to those in our community is just a response to this gift and an amazing opportunity to be his hands and feet,” Polencheck said.
When asked what kind of awareness the feminist club was hoping to raise through this gift drive, Norbeck said, “Rather than raising awareness, the gift drive really served as an opportunity for the campus to come together to show Christ’s love to women who generally aren’t shown much love on any day of the year, let alone on Valentine’s Day.”
Norbeck continued, “Plus, the unconditional love that Christ demonstrates towards us and these women every day is the kind of love that we think Valentine’s Day is truly about.”
According to the Christian Feminist Club, 72 people and groups were involved in the gift drive, bringing the expected number of filled bags to 103.
Norbeck said, “This is beyond amazing and definitely exceeded all of our expectations.”
Photo and Banner Credit: Brooke Greene
Printed in the February 15, 2013 issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.