When someone seeks medical attention after being sexually assaulted, the survivors must give up their clothing for DNA evidence. Often times they leave the facility wearing a hospital gown. 

Lisa Blanchard thought this was unacceptable and started the Grateful Garment Project to provide new clothing for these women, men and children to wear home. Now, her organization provides resources to 25 to 40 people a day in California.

This year, the Grateful Garment Project’s fundraising goal is to collect 10,000 pairs of new leggings by December. The organization has received 2,000 so far. When Half Moon Bay resident Linda Mead heard about the goal, she decided to reach out to her own community for support. 

“We never think of the small things,” Mead said. “You watch TV ... they go through the whole thing with being in the hospital, having the test taken, but you never realize they have to go home with some clothes or a hospital gown.”

Helen Paul saw Mead’s post on NextDoor and decided to donate. 

“I liked the idea that someone has taken note of a situation such as this, where there is a true need and decided, ‘I’m going to do something about it,’” Paul said. “It’s a nice feeling to know you’re helping on a local level.”

Donations must be new clothing. Grateful Garment Project board member Susan Silver said new clothing helps restore dignity, and leggings provide comfort. 

“If you think about leggings ... these are garments that are comfortable, that are easy to wear,” Silver said. “If you’ve just been assaulted, there’s not just the emotional pain, there may be physical pain. To put on something that’s easy and comfortable is really important.” 

“So many people (are) asking for donations for this, that and the next thing,” Mead said. “This is one small way somebody could help. One pair of leggings could help someone feel so much better.”

Silver is holding a drive today in Palo Alto for people to come donate leggings. Email: leggingsforhope@gratefulgarment.org for details. Mead plans to attend and bring all the donations then.

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