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

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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.” [Read more…]

Grateful for New Journey Helping Victims

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A chance conversation with a complete stranger and a college assignment are propelling Lisa Blanchard on an unexpected trajectory as the leader of a fast growing all-volunteer organization that extends comfort and aid to sexual assault victims across the State of California.

Thanks to The Grateful Garment Project, started by Blanchard in March 2011 as an undergraduate student, sexual assault victims who must give up clothing as police evidence can go home fully clothed. In the past some victims left examinations with nothing more than a paper hospital gown.

“I had no idea when I started my simple class project that I was hitting a vein of need that was so immense, that basically it’s consumed my life for the past year,” said Blanchard, a San Jose resident and University of San Francisco graduate student.

The Grateful Garment Project has grown into a full-blown nonprofit with a board of directors, numerous volunteers, and Blanchard as its unpaid executive director.

To help continue its mission of aiding victims, the group’s volunteers are hosting a “Party for Panties” fundraiser at 6 p.m., on Saturday, July 21, at the Willow Den, 803 Lincoln Ave., San Jose. The event features free food, dancing and door prizes. [Read more…]