LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Onalaska High School student Jessica Randall created The Survivor Clothing Drive in February in order to collect clothing items for sexual assault victims to donate to Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System.
After collection and sorting the items, Randall delivered nine boxes of clothing with 700 items to Mayo Clinic Health System on Tuesday afternoon.
She collected these items in order to provide sexual assault victims with clothing to leave the hospital in.
"Before the pandemic, I had read an article about people being sent home from hospitals across the country in paper scrubs and I just thought that was de-humanizing. I went to my principal and asked if I could start this project," said Randall.
She said the project has helped with her leadership skills and becoming an advocate for others.
"This isn't just about raising clothes and providing the physical clothes, it's about spreading awareness because most people don't know that this happens and it's about being an advocate for those that can't speak up for themselves," said Randall.
She collected both monetary donations and physical clothing donations. With the monetary donations she purchased things like underwear, bras, and socks.
Within the next few weeks, she has another collection of items she will be donating to Gundersen. At first she was nervous about how successful it would be but after a lot of support from classmates, it was a huge turnout. She said she couldn't have done it without the support from the community.
"The community has really stepped up. People from my school, my neighborhood, people from La Crosse, people from different cities have heard about it and emailed me wanting to donate money and clothes," said Randall.
She said starting this clothing drive has had a ripple effect. At her school, more drives have been started in order to collect items for people in need.
One thing that she really wanted to get across is that anyone can be sexually assaulted which means this could affect everyone.
"Anyone could be sexually assaulted. It can happen to anyone regardless of your age, your gender, your sexuality, anything. So it's really important that when I was advertising this, it wasn't just for females. It wasn't just for bras, it was clothes for all genders because sadly anyone can be sexually assaulted," said Randall.
While the clothing drive has now ended, she plans on making it something that continues year round so people can continue to donate to the on-going need.