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Rochester teen collects more than 20,000 hygiene products for women in need

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Rochester teenager Reese Rutherford and her friends set out back in January to help local women get basic hygiene items through a "Her Drive."

The "Her Drive" is a nationwide campaign that allows people to set up donation drives to collect things like feminine hygiene products, soap and makeup for women in need in their communities.

When Rutherford first started the campaign, she said she didn't know what to expect. But she did know she could see people who needed help right in her own high school.

"It's already hard to focus when you don't have the products you need to have a good day at school," Rutherford said in January. "I feel if I provide my classmates with these products then they can have a better school experience, and it will inspire everyone in Rochester to not see feminine products as just a given. It's something people struggle with."

She said she was amazed at the outpouring of support. In the past month, Rutherford collected more than 20,000 feminine hygiene items, setting a new nationwide record for "Her Drive" donations. The previous donation record was 16,000.

In addition to the 20,000 feminine products, the drive collected other things like bras, soap, diapers and makeup, totaling more than 8,000 and counting.

"We may need some help carrying all the bras," she said.

On Tuesday, those who need items can stop the The Exchange Co-operative in Rochester from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. Items leftover will be donated to local nonprofit organizations.

Rutherford said the Rochester Morning Pride Lions Club made the single largest donation.

"I learned there are so many more people in need than I originally thought," Rutherford said. "I also learned there are so many more people willing to help, and that they want to help, and they want to get involved. There's stuff they want to do for their community, but they don't necessarily know how. I think it's a big task but it will definitely pay out, and I want to continue it. It's something really fun."

She wants to have two "Her Drives" a year. She said she wants to teach others how manage one so they can continue once she goes off to college.

For more information, contact Reese at pinkreese@gmail.com.

Megan Zemple

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