A Boy Scouts of America Troop No. 408 member hosted a community-wide towel drive Thursday to benefit Project SAFE.
As part of a community service project, Eagle Scout candidate Max Rinish spent his Thursday evening camped out for a couple hours at Project SAFE, gathering towels and hygiene products to benefit the nonprofit agency.
Rinish said for the past couple weeks he has been collecting donations at Shawnee High School, Shawnee Middle School and Mid-Del, as well.
To achieve an Eagle Scout ranking, members are required to demonstrate that they daily live by the principles of the scout oath and scout law, as well as earn 21 merit badges. A service project — designed to benefit an organization — is also part of completing the illustrious Eagle Scout designation.
Rinish said he was excited to center his project around helping those in need of Project SAFE services.
“It's for a really good cause,” he said. “It's an awesome project.”
Project SAFE Executive Director Renee Clemmons was equally pleased.
“This is a wonderful project this young man has come up with,” she said. “We are really appreciative.”
She said such items are an ongoing need at the area nonprofit, which serves Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties.
“The items donated will go directly to our clients, primarily women and children in need at our shelter,” she said. “Occasionally we assist non-residential clients here in our office, who have needs, as well.”
Clemmons said the organization served more than 850 residents at its shelter last year — and more who were helped at the office.
“We do probably 95 percent of the protective orders in this county,” she said.
Most people, if they need protection from stalking, harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence, meet the criteria for a protective order, she said and the agency helps them get that paperwork filled out and filed, which is then reviewed by a judge to determine if the petition is granted.
“All our services are voluntary, confidential and free,” she said.
Among services offered are court advocacy, sexual assault victim's advocacy, adult domestic violence advocacy and trauma informed counseling.
For more information or to seek help, a local 24-hour hotline is available; call 1 (800) 821-9953.