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Rockford woman’s feminine care packages create a nationwide impact

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Heather Rothermel just wants to be a good mom.

She has four kids (three daughters and one son) at home that she balances her time between while predominatly working from home.

A big topic in the Rothermel house as of late was her oldest daughter starting to go through changes.

She was entering a stage of her life every young women goes through.

Heather wanted to make sure her daughter was prepared if anything happened so she made a feminine care package to take to school in case anything happened.

However, it wasn't that simple for the young girl.

"I did it to just help her feel a little more normal. It's a totally normal thing.," Rothermel said.

"She expressed some concern that it would be embarrassing to have one of these."

So how do you make a kid comfortable with bringing something to school?

You bring them for everybody.

Heather reached out to the social workers at her daughter's school to see if she could bring care packages to all the girls at the school.

It didn't take much convincing to get the school on board, but what Heather didn't know yet was that it was the beginning of something so much bigger.

"What started as a vision of one went to one school with 30 students," Rothermel said.

That's just a pebble in the pond compared to today.

After getting the okay from the school, Heather took to Facebook asking for more IPSY bags to make her care packages.

Her request reached far beyond just the stateline.

Donations started coming in from around the country.

Florida, Lousiana, Michigan, Arizona.

The list goes on and on.

Heather received so much help, she has expanded her initial order.

Along with her dedicated assembly workers (a.k.a her three daughters) Heather has made 240 care packages going to seven schools in the stateline.

It's even spilled over into making adult bags as well.

Heather is making bags to give to organizations like Rockford Rescue Mission, Miss Carly's, Carpenter's Place and Children's Home and Aid Society.

"It's much bigger than we thought it would be," Rothermel.

"It's pretty amazing to just see how many people who support and just want these ladies to be taken care of at this time."

The support for Heather's cause hasn't been exclusive to donations.

Down state in Mahomet, Illinois, Heather is serving as inspiration for Gaby Venatta.

"Our mutual friend Megan had a post about Heather's project and I thought that's a really great project," Venatta said.

Such a great project that Gaby decided to do it herself in her community.

As of now, she has put together 270 bags to go to local schools.

Every bit of effort inspired by what Heather is doing here in the stateline.

I haven't officially met Heather but I think she is an incredible person,: Venatta said.

"If other people took up the task and started doing this project in their towns, I think that would be really great."

It's the best kind of ripple effect.

What started as a way to make her daughter feel better has moved an entire nation.

It's something that affirms how Heather feels about people at their core.

"People are just really good and we all just want to leave a little bit of good behind us wherever we go, Rothermel said.

If you or anyone you know is trying to make a positive impact in our community, you can fill out a nomination form here or reach out to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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