Local ministry donates 'Hope Kits' to OSF Saint Paul, Mendota

Posted 4/9/20

MENDOTA - Crossroads Coffeehouse’s Women Of Worth Ministries has launched a new effort to provide Hope Kits to women and children who are victims of rape, sexual assault and molestation.

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Local ministry donates 'Hope Kits' to OSF Saint Paul, Mendota


MENDOTA - Crossroads Coffeehouse’s Women Of Worth Ministries has launched a new effort to provide Hope Kits to women and children who are victims of rape, sexual assault and molestation. Led by Cathy Wolf with assistance from her daughters, Micah, Emma, Francine and Faith Brandt, the organization presented the first donation of Hope Kits to OSF Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota on March 4.

Each Hope Kit contains a brand new set of clothing, flip flops, body wash, assorted health and beauty items and an encouraging note. Wolf explained that after an assault, individuals are taken to the hospital and often their clothing is requisitioned and processed as evidence. Without a change of clothing, these victims of violence leave the hospital in a paper gown and hospital socks, causing emotional distress for a second time.

Melissa Burke, RN, who is the I-80 Region Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator for OSF Saint Paul, OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center and Center for Health-Streator, welcomed the donation of Hope Kits. “We are so blessed to receive these Hope Kits from Crossroads, Cathy, and her daughters,” Burke said. “This will provide a great deal of comfort to sexual assault survivors who present to OSF Saint Paul Medical Center.”

Burke explained that the OSF Saint Paul Emergency Department is a sexual assault treatment facility for adults and adolescent sexual assault survivors. “This means that sexual assault survivors who present to OSF Saint Paul, aged 13 and older, are treated by local, highly trained and competent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in the emergency department,” she said. “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse. The I-80 Region Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Team is currently made up of a total of eight training or trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners that provide medical forensic care to the community.”

Hope Kits

Thus far, Wolf and her family have donated all the items included in the Hope Kits, but going forward, she hopes others will join their effort. Wolf said after experiencing a sexual assault as a college student, her Christian faith eventually led her to help others who are assaulted and abused. The Women Of Worth mission states her belief: “Jesus wants “to be there” for the people who have endured abuse, and He wants us to partner with Him to provide His hope in their most crucial time of need. You can be a part of this important mission.”

For more information about Women Of Worth Ministries or to make a donation to the Hope Kits, visit https://www.crossroadshop.com/donate.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Wolf pointed out that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and although the public is now largely focused on COVID-19, the pandemic can be an especially dangerous time for individuals experiencing domestic violence. She said both the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline (1-877-863-6338) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) offer around-the-clock support, however, anyone who is in an emergency situation should call 911.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). They have highly trained, experienced advocates that offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information, educational services and referral services in more than 200 languages. In addition, the Hotline’s website (thehotline.org) offers information about domestic violence, instructional materials, safety planning, local resources and ways to support the organization.

Staying Safe during COVID-19

Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19. An abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control.

Create a safety plan

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. The Hotline helps with safety plans for victims, friends, family members, and anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.

Reach out for help

You may feel isolated from your friends and family during this time, but try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so, and try to stick to daily routines as much as possible.