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Onalaska teen develops nonprofit for sexual assault survivors

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - What started as a one-time clothing drive has developed into a full nonprofit for an Onalaska teen.

Onalaska High School junior Jessica Randall is the founder of the Survivor Clothing Project.

She thought of the idea after reading an article about sexual assault survivors whose clothes are taken into evidence while they’re in the hospital.

Often, those survivors have to leave hospitals wearing disposable underwear or paper scrubs.

The article shocked Randall, who immediately sprung into action to do what she could to provide help for survivors in the Coulee Region.

She started up a clothing drive through her school, which grew in support once word got out around the area.

“I had people driving from different cities to give me donations to my house and to the high school, everyone pitched in,” Randall described. “I got so many emails and messages...it was a lot but it was definitely worth it, the community really rallied together.”

That community support showed Randall that great things can be accomplished once people gather together to support a good cause.

“I never imagined that this could happen, I was blown out of my mind,” Randall added. “It just makes me think what else we can do, this is just one issue, there are so many other things out there and if the community can come together for all these issues then we can really make a difference in the world.”

Randall was able to gather together over 1,000 clothing items with the drive, which she delivered to Gundersen Health System and the Mayo Clinic.

She’s now raising funds year-round to be able to provide more clothes once the initial supply runs out.

Anyone interested in donating can contact survivorclothingproject@gmail.com with questions, or can reach out through the project’s Facebook or Instagram (@survivorclothingproject) page.

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