This article may contain affiliate links; if you click on a shopping link and make a purchase I may receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
We had a day for giving thanks. We had two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Today, Tuesday, December 1, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s simple: find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Join and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity. Share on social media how you gave and use the hashtag #Giving Tuesday.
My office building is on a busy corner in DC, with a CVS on the main floor. Homeless men are often standing in front of the CVS, asking for change or food, and you get to know their faces and quite often, their stories. One day, a woman was there; I was heading into CVS and made eye contact with her, and she asked if I had any change. I admitted I didn't but I'd be happy to buy her something from CVS.
“Could you buy me some tampons? I haven't had any for a couple months.”
I hate to admit it, but I never thought about the inability to secure feminine sanitary products when homeless or below the poverty line. She told me she was staying at a shelter at night, but even the shelter didn't have any tampons or pads. Needless to say, I bought as many boxes of products that she could comfortably carry in her cart.
I Support the Girls is a DC-based organization that started when founder Dana Marlowe changed clothing size. She suddenly ended up with a bunch of perfectly good bras that were no longer the correct size. When getting herself fitted for new bras at a lingerie boutique, she asked the sales clerk what to do with her old bras. The sales clerk informed her that homeless women in DC (and everywhere) are in desperate need of bras, as people often donate clothes and shoes but not underpinnings. Marlowe then read this piece on DCist about the homeless need for feminine hygiene products as well as bras and knew she had to help. With that, Support the Girls was born.
“One shouldn’t have to weigh the value of a sandwich over a maxi pad.”
I Support the Girls accepts donations of new or used bras and new sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads (or sealed individual products in a taped-up box) to donate to homeless women. Any bra of any size and need is accepted as long as it is in working order. Any type of feminine sanitary product is accepted, though the greatest need is for overnight pads with wings. All donations are given to Thrive DC.
Founded in 1979 to serve dinner to homeless women, Thrive DC has grown to be a comprehensive, professionally staffed, bilingual organization serving more than 2,000 men, women, and children each year. Thrive DC is a safety net for people experiencing homelessness, unemployment, housing instability, and food insecurity. With their help, Thrive DC clients take the first steps toward independence and self-sufficiency.
Click here to learn how to donate bras and feminine sanitary products to I Support the Girls.
I am currently accepting donations for I Support the Girls at my office and was floored by how many people have brought in new and used bras, and bought so many boxes of sanitary products. This charity gave me such a good excuse to do a thorough analysis of my lingerie drawer and donate that which I don't really need or that doesn't really fit. I had coworkers bring in bags full of bras that they had in their attic just in case they would lose weight but admitted would do more good if donated. Lots of us had sanitary products hiding in the corners of our linen closets that we didn't use but could benefit another, and such items are always on sale at drugstores and big box retailers.
For those who do not live in the DC area, similar programs are all across the country. Some help homeless women, others support survivors of sex trafficking, and others send donations to developing countries. If there isn't such a charity in your area, consider donating to a nearby shelter to help your fellow woman be clean, comfortable, and have a sense of dignity.
Some other organizations in the US, Canada, and other parts of the globe that collect donations of bras and feminine sanitary products:
- New Jersey and Philadelphia – Distributing Dignity
- Arizona – Bras for a Cause
- Indiana – Free the Girls
- Los Angeles – Downtown Women's Center
- Texas – Safe Haven
- Multiple states in the US – Breast Oasis
- Across the US – Soma stores accept bra donations and give to local National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)- affiliated shelters
- Vancouver –Downtown Eastside Women's Centre
- United Kingdom – Bra Banks
- Scotland – Smalls for All
- Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore – Uplift Project
- Australia – Share the Dignity
If you know of any other organizations, do share in the comments!
Thanks for posting this. I hadn’t thought about the sanitary products.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
my pleasure, happy to get the word out!
I think donating used knickers would not be a good idea but I do donate new women’s underwear. Sometimes when there is a big undergarment sale, I buy some for me and some for the shelter folks. Another clothing item very welcomed is warm socks. Costco sells a 4 pack of mostly merino wool trail socks Made in the USA. the price is $11.99 which is a great price for a 4 pack. As you know, wool keeps a lot its warming properties even when wet. I like the socks myself and wear them all winter when I can dress casually. There is a men’s version and a women’s version of the socks. I occasionally buy an extra pack of socks and donate them. Nothing like a new pair of thick, warm, new socks when a person is on her/his feet and outdoors most of the time. I am feeling guilty that I don’t buy socks for the less fortunate more often than I do.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Oh fully agree, this organization will not take used underwear, only bras. And socks are a great thing to donate, I am so glad you do! I’m just glad organizations realize that homeless women often have to decide between buying a meal or buying sanitary products, and we live in a time where a woman would have a hard time being chosen for a job if she’s not wearing a bra (especially if she’s larger or older). Hygiene, comfort, and dignity can do so much. And to everyone, this is the season for giving, it’s amazing how such a small purchase like a pack of socks or a box of pads can do so much!
We did this last winter in Rochester! http://www.kttc.com/story/27932727/2015/01/24/pons-and-pads-party-helps-homeless-women-receive-feminine-hygiene-products
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
That is AWESOME! Thank you so much for sharing!