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Local woman turns hobby into full-time service project; continues to collect bras, tampons

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One year ago, we introduced you to an Indianapolis woman with a goal to collect as many bras as possible. It wasn’t a weird obsession, it was an effort to make sure all Hoosier women had the proper undergarments, even those who couldn’t afford them. Since then, she’s gathered more than 10,000 bras and her work has expanded to include menstrual items as well.

“Can you imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have a bra that fit you for a job interview or if you had your period and you didn’t have access to a pad or a tampon?”

It’s a message Rachael Heger said quickly that resonated with not only women in Indianapolis, but is spreading across the country.

“This has exploded,” Heger said.

10,000 bras have been donated to organizations and 40,000 pads and tampons too. Within just months of starting a local chapter, Heger is now a leader in the international organization of Support the Girls.

“We collect everything from training bras, nursing bras, mastectomy bras, pretty bras, sports bras, functional bras and I have received bras from brand new training bras up to I believe the biggest size I’ve received to date is an L cup,” Heger said. “Here’s like a J cup bra, this one is actually new with tags.”

The bras first came from neighbors, family, and friends, but now Heger receives them from complete strangers on a daily basis. Her basement, once a play room, is now an office and bra haven.

“There’s lot and lots and lots over here. And then in here, I collect loose pads and tampons as well as full packages, so if people buy a brand that they don’t like or they have some extras left over, go ahead and I take these extras, because so long as they’re individually wrapped, like all of these, they can still be passed on,” Heger said.

It was a hypothetical hobby at the start of 2016, but it’s her life’s work, a full-time service project she says she intends to continue as long as possible.

“I’ve never been so optimistic and so thankful to so many hoosier women,” Heger said.

To learn more about how to donate or even hold a bra drive, visit the Support the Girls – Indianapolis Facebook page.

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Shoe art by Kokomo native stolen from northern Indiana museum

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — A shoe by an Indiana native was stolen Saturday from a northern Indiana art museum.

South Bend Museum of Art is seeking help to find the thief of a shoe from the piece titled “Welcome Knives,” part of an exhibit by Kokomo native Chris Francis that’s traveled to other U.S. museums. His work has been described as wearable architecture.

The shoe disappeared between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday while the museum was open. The museum staff and city police are reviewing surveillance video from the Century Center to gain a lead. South Bend’s show called “Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art” is in the downtown Century Center through April 5.

Francis, who grew up in Kokomo and now lives in Los Angeles, said in a statement that he was “saddened to be informed that someone has chosen to steal the piece ‘Welcome Knives’ from the exhibition. The shoes exhibited are all documented and catalogued works of art that have shown in many museums. Every shoe in the exhibition is one of a kind, with no others in existence making them very different than shoes we find in stores.”

Francis has created shoes for runway shows and for celebrities, including Lady Gaga and the members of Kiss and The Sex Pistols.

His work was displayed late last year on the Purdue University campus.

Anyone with information was asked to call the South Bend Police Department at (574) 235.9201 or contact the South Bend Museum of Art via email at info@southbendart.org, or through the museum’s social media accounts: Facebook, @SouthBendMuseumofArt; Twitter, @southbendart; Instagram, @southbendart.

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