Are they Charlatans or Shepherds? Part III: by Vanessa L. Pinto

Oct 30, 2013
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This week, I am re-introducing you to The Cupcake Girls and SolaceSF,  for the third installation of my series. While I have covered both organizations in the past, I want to offer some insight on the women who lead these growing organizations.  I have seen both of these organizations work with those within the industry and have spoken to people who have been on the receiving end of their help, met and spoken to their Board members, seen their financial records and spoke to past and present volunteers.  Both subjects this week worked with Craig Gross and XXX Church prior to starting their own organizations. Researching and learning their history made me wonder how much of an influence Pastor Gross had on their non-profits.

I initially encountered Joy Hoover of The Cupcake Girls, in late December 2012/January 2013 when she partnered with Solace SF for the Hollie Stevens Suite during AVN. Hoover’s organization offered up their local team to serve the performers attending AVN. Hoover is in her late 20’s, married, has a new baby and keeps busy running her non-profit. Hoover has been described as “passionate about helping people”, “tenacious” and “a people person”.

The Cupcake Girls are based in Las Vegas, Nevada and they also have a team in Portland, Oregon. Hoover, unlike Dust, Lasky or Munoz, was never a sex worker or involved in the sex industry in any capacity; she felt compelled to start her organization for different reasons: “On a vacation to Las Vegas, my husband and I heard Craig Gross speak about his ministry with XXX Church. With further reflection, we felt very connected to the mission and felt compelled to move to Las Vegas in an effort to help meet the needs of women in the sex industry. After some time with XXX Church, they shifted their goals and mission and moved to Los Angeles. It was at that time that we started The Cupcake Girls.” Hoover said.

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While Hoover is no longer working with Gross, she did reuse one of his ideas: “In an effort to continue supporting women in the adult industry and to be consistent with our words and actions, we made the decision to continue using pink cupcakes to connect with women in the adult industry which was an idea established by XXX Church. The women in the adult industry coined us, “The Cupcake Girls”, which we thought was very fitting. While using cupcakes wasn’t my idea, The Cupcake Girls structure, policies, trainings, partners, fundraising, mission, etc. are my ideas. XXX Church and The Cupcake Girls are two separate, unaffiliated organizations with different philosophies.” When asked if Hoover refers people to XXX Church: “No.” Hoover explained why she no longer partners with Gross or his organization: “Because our focus is different than XXX Church, we meet the needs of the women within our own organization or with affiliates who are designed to meet those needs.”

Hoover is a Christian; she wanted to make Cupcake Girls a faith-based organization, but decided against it. “We planned to establish ourselves as a faith-based organization being that I believe my desire to help these women is God-given and I see my faith as an integral part of my life. Our primary goal is to offer support & resources to women in need, not to try to convert them to Christianity, which is why we filed as a nonreligious nonprofit.”

While at AVN, one of Hoover’s volunteers made a poor decision, much like XXX Church’s volunteer. While serving in the Hollie Steven’s Suite, a hair/make up person asked if she could pray for a woman receiving services; to some, it could feel as if they were providing a service with the goal of leading whoever receives it to Jesus. “Our policy is that no volunteer should ever address religious issues unless specifically asked by the woman she is serving. So yes, a Cupcake Girls volunteer asking a woman if she can pray for her is out of protocol and against our policies. I don’t know who that person was. This is the first time I’ve heard of this situation. If I were to observe the action that you spoke of, that person would not be able to volunteer in an area of direct care until they could fully commit to following the policies and procedures of The Cupcake Girls.”

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