Roseann Mehan Kermes photo

Roseann Mehan Kermes

Roseann Meehan Kermes of Rosebud’s Cottage in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, has been involved with Pantie Raid since its beginning in 2010.

We all start the New Year with good intentions, especially the goal of helping others. But what if we told you that giving back could be as easy as going to your favorite department store and loading up on panties and other “unmentionables” for women in need? And … you get something in return for your generosity!

That’s what the 2016 Pantie Raid is all about. Quilt shops all around the world are banding together to help women of domestic violence, and they’re asking you to take part. For each package of women’s undies, nighties, bras, slips, or any of the other things that make us feel feminine, you’ll receive a fat quarter.

Bin full of packages of panties

Lots of packages of panties collected for Pantie Raid!

The pantie raid this year is the continuation of an event that began in 2010 by a smaller group of shop owners. We’ve collected thousands of packages of underwear for women and have given away just as many fat quarters! All of the donations go to women’s shelters within the community near the quilt shop. The shop owners work hard to find organizations who will appreciate the donations.

With the help of the Row By Row Experience, this year we are able to expand the reach of this cause. We’ve chosen January 15-23, 2016 to host the 2016 Pantie Raid. It coincides with the Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day. Some stores may extend their collection dates so check with your favorite local quilt shop.

While the history of quilt shops banding together for a Pantie Raid begins in November of 2010, the idea came from my community long before that. When my kids were small, I belonged to a women’s group where we had adopted a shelter for battered women and their children. We usually collected things the kids would need but realized that we were forgetting one important group at the shelter … the moms who risked everything to change their lives. As they made their escape, they were grabbing what their children needed, often leaving their own things behind. The shelters don’t always have what they need for the women. Many of them have to start looking for employment soon after they arrive. We came up with the idea of collecting underwear for them because we knew that nothing makes you feel better than new undies or pajamas. The staff confirmed the need and suggested items and sizes the moms could use the most. We called it a Pantie Raid because the name put a bit of levity into an otherwise serious subject.

Photo of packages of panties spilling out of a plastic bin

More packages of panties collected for women’s shelters

As primarily women owned businesses with women customers, quilt shop owners are in a unique position to help. Several years after we did the first Pantie Raid, a customer told me that our event and the literature she picked up helped her to make the decision to leave her husband. On the outside this woman has it together … on the inside she was controlled by a mean and abusive man. She took a huge financial hit leaving him but when I see her now, she looks happy … happier than I remember before. It was a reminder to me that domestic violence happens in the places we least suspect.

Women are the often the invisibles in domestic violence when they flee to a shelter. Everyone thinks about the kids and provides for them but so often the moms are the ones who need support. I think we all know how having nice undies always makes us feel better … that’s the feeling we should convey as we launch this year’s Pantie Raid through the help of the Row By Row community.

Join us for the 2016 Pantie Raid! Take advantage of the after holiday sales and stock up on items that make you “feel like a woman.” Thank you for taking part and showing other women how much you care about them!

Pantie Raid logo with pair of panties again colorful background

Click to go to the list of shops

Click over to Pantie Raid 2016 on Row by Row Experience to find the participating quilt shop that is closest to you. You can also grab a pantie icon from the “Pantie Drawer” on the website. Right click and download to use as your Facebook profile picture. Tell the world you support Pantie Raid 2016!

Photos of Pantie Raid collections by Laura at Cotton Patch Quilt Shop. Thanks, Laura!