Women Band Together for Spa Day

Collage of volunteers and bra images from Spa Day

 

Seeing the pink banners emblazoned with the exhilarating text “Semi-Annual Sale” is always an adrenaline rush for women of all ages to travel en-masse to their local malls or gather around a computer monitor for an epic bargain event. Bins of bras in all colors and sizes fill shopping baskets as women root through the savings to find the best fit for their bodies and wallets. However, for homeless women who have difficulty affording rent and medication, the experience can be out of reach for many. Support the Girls wanted to change that, and brought the exhilaration full-force earlier this month.

Teaming up with Thrive DC, an organization providing services to the homeless in the heart of the District of Columbia, we helped put on the ultimate Spa Day for homeless and disadvantaged women on February 12th.  On this exquisite day of relaxation and pampering before Valentine’s Day, volunteers partnering with Thrive DC provided massages, facials, manicures, makeovers (shout-out to Melissa from Beautiful World), and a warm meal to women (known as clients) in need. To enhance the spirit of Spa Day’s focus on improving the health and wellness, Support the Girls provided the bras from months of mailed-in and dropped-off donations.

Before the doors opened to the clients of Thrive DC, I worked with Support the Girls founder Dana and other allies to set up. There were more boxes than hands to unpack them (numbering upwards of 40 overflowing containers) scrawled with Sharpie labels to designate size. Despite this, nothing could prepare me for the bonanza of bras, straps, and clasps that sprung out of overcrowded, yet expertly organized boxes. In a wave of color, lace, padding, wire, and straps, thousands of bras were laid out on tables for crowds of women to try on, much like that Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale.

As the first group of woAs I pawed through tables of hundreds of bras, one woman asked me if I had a bag to help her carry out these items. Like I was trained to do, I asked around. I expected a simple yes or no answer. What I got was a lesson in empathy. Bags can be an invitation to steal from someone else if another person is desperate for whatever is in the bag. Worse, if the bag is transparent, visible bras could be a trigger for assault. I felt waves of compassion, fear, and awareness of the struggle to be homeless. I might never be able to relate fully, but I could make things better. -Sharon, STG volunteermen walked into the room, seeing fifteen tables covered in heaps of bras and arranged by sizes varying from 30A to 44 HH, there were huge smiles and exclamations like “That’s Christmas right there!” and “Is this all for us?” There was a real sisterhood among these wonderful women. Mother and daughter pairs sifted through the mounds of sports bras, coordinated by size, to find the perfect ones for each other. An older sister helped her younger sister choose her first bra. Women would see something they thought another woman would like, and protectively kept it safe for them. A young woman explained, “Women look out for each other here.”

Two experienced former Victoria’s Secret employees volunteered their skills to fit the women before they chose their bras. A majority of the women didn’t know their size, so they appreciated being properly and professionally measured. Having never been in one place with so many bras, it was a bit of sensory overload. There were pink bras, cheetah bras, training bras, nursing bras, neutral colors and frilly ones, but the kind most sought after by the women were comfortable, colorful sports bras. The purpose of Support the Girls is to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Having a properly fitting bra is essential for a variety of health reasons, safety, and self-esteem.

As women trickled out, they thanked the Support the Girls volunteers profusely. Hugs were shared amongst all. Some volunteers recognized bras they had donated on their way to a new wearer. One volunteer remarked “Seeing my old bra reincarnated into a blessing for a woman in need was wonderful.” Spa Day was not only derived to give bras to those in need, but to celebrate a beautiful day of female fun and friendship.

The next Spa Day will be around Mother’s Day, and we are actively collecting to fill up our now emptier boxes and give back to more women in need! Please consider a donation of a bra to help make the next Spa Day a resounding success.

2 thoughts on “Women Band Together for Spa Day

  1. I’d love to help any way I can. I’d be glad to purchase maxi pads or tampons and collect some bras in my community. I am a stay at home mom so I have free time to help with anything else. It would certainly feel complete knowing I’m helping someone in need rather than sitting here doing nothing. Yes, I’m the girl that gives the homeless $20 when their panhandling. Now my 13 and 16 year old do it. It makes the world a better place when you pay it forward. 😊

    1. Angie-
      You’re bringing them up the right way!
      Not sure where you live- let us know and if we have an affiliate in your city, we’ll be happy to receive your donation! Or if you wish you can send products to:
      Support the Girls
      Attn: Dana Marlowe
      P.O. Box 2736
      Wheaton, Maryland 20915

      Thank you in advance!!!

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