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.
Support the Girls is a DC-based organization that started when founder Dana Marlowe dropped a considerable amount of weight. 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.”
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 products are 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.
If you live in the DC area, click here to learn how to donate bras and feminine sanitary products to Support the Girls.
I am currently accepting donations for 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 what 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, 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 who 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!