Hays, KS – In honor of two young women who lost their lives this past year, last week’s Kansas Women’s Leadership Conference held the first ever Kansas Clothes Drive for Women. New and ‘gently used’ clothing and accessories were donated and then distributed to several women’s organizations across Kansas.
Originally, organizers had hoped the conference participants would provide the needed clothing. To their surprise the donated items also came from communities throughout Kansas and even other states like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas.
The service project was inspired by two women who were instrumental in the development of the annual Kansas Women’s Leadership Conference. Both died last summer. Jana Mackey – 25 of Lawrence and Cari McGrath – 29 of Hays were committed to improving the lives of Kansas women.
Donations were sent to Dress for Success of Wichita, GaDuGi Safe Center of Lawrence, and Family Crisis Services of Garden City.
“The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. We have so many clothes, I don’t even know how we quantify this.” says Christie Brungardt, creator of the conference and Jana’s mother.
Sarah Jane Russell, director of the GaDuGi Safe Center, thanked conference participants stating, “I am a witness to the smiles of relief when the survivors hear ‘We have clothes for you….please don’t worry.’ These clothes will be used for victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
The statewide Kansas Women’s Leadership Conference is held annually in Hays and is sponsored by Fort Hays State University. The conference focuses primarily on leadership issues and skills directly related to women.