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STARKVILLE, Miss.–The Mississippi State University spirit of generosity has swept the campus once again.

This time, the outpouring of support has come in the form of toiletries, clothes and bedding for the ladies who need the shelter of Safe Haven, a local refuge for battered women.

MSU’s Department of Relationship Violence and Outreach and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women spearheaded the community outreach and promoted it on campus and beyond, according to Beatrice A. Tatem, department director.

LaWanda Swan, former program coordinator for the department, suggested it gather essentials for women in crisis situations, Tatem explained. When department leaders mentioned the idea to PCSW representatives, the idea to “adopt” the women of Safe Haven was born.

Together, PCSW and the Relationship Violence and Outreach Department sponsored the Women for Women on-campus event to gather toiletries and clothes for women who need the services of Safe Haven, Tatem said.

The rest was history.

“We have so many items, we’re running out of space,” she explained. “We’ve had students, faculty, staff and the community bring things to us. Our goal is to provide service to people, particularly people that have experienced sexualized violence, and one of the best things to do is to go where the need is. The items are going to the women who are already a part of Safe Haven.”

Not only did the PCSW and the department advertise the community outreach effort on campus, leaders from more than 20 campus organizations told their members, who then told their friends, Tatem added.

“Fashion Board came and did a fashion show, ‘Jeans for Justice,’ and everyone was given a T-shirt. They were walking advertisements,” she said.

Even Starkville stores posted signs about donating to Safe Haven; the entire community was working together to support women in need, Tatem explained.

“We were real proud of the different groups that came together and we’re proud that the President’s Commission on the Status of Women worked with us,” she said. “Women from different walks of life came together around basic human need.

“We needed to make sure that the items came in, and we were a part of making that happen.”

Tatem thanked all the people who gave, all the organizations that helped and the entire community for making sure the women that Safe Haven serves have the basic necessities they need to begin healthier, happier lives.

“When people realize the impact that sexual assault has on our community and yet, how they’re helping these women to bounce back, it reminds them that, despite some of the circumstances of these women, people do care,” Tatem said.

The Department of Relationship Violence and Outreach continues to look for supporters and volunteers to spread its message of the importance of reaching out to others.

“You can make a difference,” Tatem said.

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