KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People from all over the country are sending bed sheets to Kansas City, Missouri to help sexual assault survivors.
Marisa Smith, a Kansas City Police Crime Scene Technician,
She said technicians have to take sheets as evidence many times at the scene of a sexual assault.
“It’s never fun, and it’s something that I was really concerned about being re-traumatizing for our survivors,” Smith said.
The survivor usually isn’t there while technicians are collecting evidence. Smith didn’t like the idea of them coming home to an empty bed. In Missouri, sexual assault survivors get victim compensation for items like sheets that are taken as evidence, but it’s not immediate.
Last year, she started asking people at the department to donate sheets, and before she knew it, she had a full closet.
“I think that having one less thing to worry about allows them to start focusing on other things like healing,” Smith said.
The Kansas City Police Department posted a photo and caption explaining what Smith was doing on Facebook last year.
It re-surfaced and started going around again this week.
Since the Facebook post re-surfaced, Smith has been overwhelmed with donations from all over the country and even the world.
“We’re definitely running out of space,” Smith said.
She started a wish list on Amazon, which has resulted in hundreds of sheets taking over a garage bay at the department.
“The outpouring of support since then has been genuinely overwhelming. It’s been incredible,” Smith said.
Running out of space is doesn’t mean that Smith is stopping her work.
She wants to connect with other law enforcement agencies and organizations around the metro. The department works closely with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.
Victory Pickering, MOCSA’s director of advocacy, said between 2017 and 2018 MOCSA saw a more than 30 percent increase in call to its 24/7 hotline.
“I see it as an indication of the strength of our community, that more people are asking for the help that they so much deserve,” Pickering said.
While Smith said she is at capacity, she wants to encourage people to donate to or volunteer for organizations that help sexual assault survivors, like MOCSA.
“MOCSA is only able to do what we do 24 hours-a-day because we have dozens of amazing volunteers,” Pickering said. “If you’re looking for a way to support survivors in your community, please go to
and click on the volunteer tab and apply. We have our next training for volunteers coming up in November.”
Smith hopes this will help show survivors they aren’t alone.
“They can look at this and see that there are so many people that care and that want to help,” she said.