I’ve always had a desire to work in the nonprofit sector. While I’ve never officially worked for a nonprofit, I’ve worked with various groups to raise money for causes close to my heart. With so much negativity over the past year and a half, particularly in the past several months, I’ve been feeling the need to get back to my nonprofit involvement. This desire has lead me to figure out what I can do to make a difference. I can march (I did and it was an amazing experience!), I can make calls, send letters and emails to my representatives, which allows me to participate in our government, but what I was really searching for is something that can make a difference for someone right here at home. Something with an immediate impact. Enter my sorority sister Emy.
For months I’d been seeing her Facebook posts about an organization called Support the Girls. She’s been collecting bras, tampons, pads and underwear for women in homeless and domestic abuse shelters. Her goal this year is to collect 500 bras and she’s over half way to meeting that goal. To put in perspective why these are so important to donate/collect: The average woman will use 240 tampons/year and/or 200+ pads or liners/year. That cost adds up and when it’s choosing between a meal or hygiene products, likely, the meal will win. Not to mention how expensive bras are. I take for granted that I can just run to Target or Victoria’s Secret when I need a new bra. That is absolutely a luxury that many women do not have.
As I researched the organization, I saw that they did not have a Twin Cities affiliate. Our metro area has organizations that get women appropriate attire for job interviews and work, food shelves, toy and book drives, etc. I didn’t find one that focused on undergarments and hygiene products. It was like a light bulb turned on. I could be the Twin Cities affiliate.
So it started with a phone call with the outreach coordinator. With a Facebook post on my page and our city mom’s group page, my collections began. After finding a handful of shelters to accept my initial donations, I started thinking bigger. I contacted my Orangetheory and worked with them to get a drive going for the month of February. I posted on Nextdoor to get my neighbors involved and put a bin on my porch so people can drop off donations at their convenience. It’s gaining traction and I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. It reminds me that society as a whole, has the best intentions. People care about other people and want to give when and what they can.
So far I have collected more than 130 bras, 800 tampons, 750 pads/liners and 50 pairs of underwear. That’s in just two and a half weeks! My community, family and friends have been so supportive and generous. I’m so excited to deliver donations to various shelters.
After this first donation drive, I’ll become an official affiliate of the program which means that all other Twin Cities inquiries will be sent my way. I’m already working on scheduling a drive at our church in the next few months and getting satellite drives going throughout the Twin Cities metro area so that we can provide these items for as many shelters as we can.
Interested in making a donation? There are a few ways you can help! First, you can visit the Support the Girls website to see if there is a local affiliate near you accepting donations. If there is not, you can start your own drive and ship the items to the headquarters. You can also donate money to their Crowdrise account. If you are interested in donating in the Twin Cities or just have some stuff you want to send my way, you can email me.