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SUNY, Golfers, And The Community Pitch In To Provide Essentials To Victims Of Crime, Sexual Assault

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ENDICOTT, N.Y. -

Attendees and golfers at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on Thursday saw a big blue sign at the entrance of the tournament, inviting them to do their part to help survivors of violent crime and sexual assault.

The SUNY's Got Your Back campaign had essentials laid out on a table for anyone to come up and pack a care bag. Those bags are stuffed with items someone may need in the aftermath of a traumatic event and then distributed to hospitals, police departments, shelters, and rape crisis centers across the state. 

"Many times when someone experiences a sexual assault, they haven't been able to shower in the past 72 hours, so we have stocked the bags up with personal care, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and it's all really high quality soaps and body washes, because we want it to be a symbol of respect," says Elizabeth Brady, Project Director SUNY Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention. 

Brady says the SUNY's Got Your Back campaign started in 2016 with the goal of packing 2,016 bags. When they surpassed that goal, they realized what an impact they could make, so the campaign continued. They've now packed more than 75,000 bags.

While the items may seem insignificant, Brady says to someone going through trauma and trying to reclaim control of their life, it can be huge to receive something that shows there is support out there. Each bag includes a personal message from the person who packed it, saying "stay strong."

"That we have been told is the most important thing that they receive," says Joseph Storch, SUNY's Got Your Back Principal Investigator.

Last week, SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson challenged SUNY's Got Your Back to pack their 100,000th bag by the end of this year.