The Grateful Garment Project Continuing to Expand, Looking for Special Hosts


Lisa Blanchard. Photo by The Grateful Garment Project.

I caught up with Lisa Blanchard of The Grateful Garment Project last week. She’s the San Jose woman who created an all-volunteer organization from a college project to provide clothing and other items to victims of sexual assault at Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) facilities around the state.

Thanks to Blanchard and her volunteers, victims who previously left SART centers in nothing more than paper hospital gowns may now leave fully clothed, with perhaps a shred of dignity. The group also provides toiletries and other items, as well as funds to create more comforting surroundings.

I first wrote about Blanchard and the project in July 2012. On Thursday she’s being featured on a Bay Area Proud segment by the local NBC News affiliate.

The group is doing well, she tells me, and is currently recruiting people to host parties for friends to educate them about the need for the services, as well as collect donations of clothing and money.

“We’re always on the lookout for people who want to have a party,” she said. “We need some help.”

A party last fall held in part thanks to a couple of Good Neighbor Stories posts brought in more than $1,200 (more on that below).

Blanchard was also happy to report that a Silicon Valley philanthropy group called Aram Sei (translating to “help others” in the Tamil language), chose The Grateful Garment Project as one of two charities to support this year. On Saturday, March 30, Aram Sei is co-hosting a fundraising dance performance with the South Indian dance troupe, Visweta, at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., at the Woodside Performing Arts Center. All the monies raised go to The Grateful Garment Project and a second nonprofit called the Community Health Education Society.

Going Strong and Expanding

Blanchard told me that since last year the group continues to expand its reach in helping victims around California.

“It’s really been very successful, and it’s still run by volunteers,” she said. “It’s kind of amazing, if you think about it, that we’re run by a bunch of volunteers and no real money.”

What money and clothing the group does collect goes directly out to victims. She said the group is partnering with others to redo victim interview rooms at the Gilroy Police Department; they recently completed a project at the Morgan Hill PD. The work helped “soften the edges” of rooms that were previously more harsh in appearance, she said.

‘Easy’ to Host a Party

I was humbled to hear that Good Neighbor Stories played a small part in helping bring more funds and materials into The Grateful Garment Project, thanks to a couple of stories I posted as a Cupertino Patch blogger. One story was a version of the original story I posted here about Blanchard, the other was about how to organize fundraising events, like simple home parties, by asking friends to help.

Fellow Patch blogger Robin Hurwitz put the two together and hosted her own party for The Grateful Garment Project in November.

“I can tell you it was super easy to set up with Lisa,” Hurwitz told me last week. “Basically I just called and emailed my friends, and said I found out about this great organization, come on over to my house to have chocolate and learn more about it.”

She gave her friends a link to the group’s site, and an idea of what items were needed. Some came and brought checks and clothing, for a total of around $600, and others who could not attend sent another $600-plus directly to The Grateful Garment Project.

Hurwitz said the whole process was “so simple”, and encouraged others to contact Blanchard and make a difference by hosting a party for friends.

To find out how to host your own party, contact Lisa Blanchard at 408-674-5744, or by email.

To learn more about asking friends to help with fundraising, see “You Can Make a Difference—And Your Friends Want to Help”.





  1. […] Blanchard of The Grateful Garment Project was featured on NBC Bay Area Proud on Thursday night, as I reported earlier this week. Congratulations, […]