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Crisis Intervention Services and church partnering with ‘Lily Bags’

MASON CITY, Iowa – It’s a traumatic experience for victims of sexual assault, but a Lutheran church is wanting to give a sense of dignity and compassion by offering Lily Bags.

The WELCA group, Martha’s and Mary’s, from St. Paul Lutheran Church are creating Lily Bags, which are packed with a basic set of clothing, including a shirt, sweatpants, underwear, bra and socks, as well as a note offering support. They are then given to advocates with Crisis Intervention Services, and are given to victims after a sexual assault.

The idea came from a church group in Pennsylvania who donated Lily Bags to a hospital. The lily was chosen due to being in the ‘Women of the ELCA’ logo, and stands for strength, beauty and vitality.

Crisis Intervention Volunteer Coordinator Lori Elbermawy says that in many cases, victims‘ clothing can be taken away to be used as evidence in an investigation. In some cases, victims are only given a hospital gown to wear home. She says this service will provide for those who have gone through so much.

“As some people who don’t have any family with them that could go and provide a fresh set of clothes, this is absolutely wonderful because they have a fresh set of clothes, brand new, that they’re able to put on and leave the hospital with.”

In addition, she says it’s a unique way to help, and appreciates the partnership.

“I always appreciate it when we have people reach out to us and ask, hey, we have this idea for a project, can we work with you and figure it out. I’m more than happy to always work with people and how we can plan it and execute a project like this.”

The church plans to continue with the Lily Bag project as long as there is a need.