Written by Jenn Schultz
How is it May already? It seems like April just flew by. I Support the Girls was able to accomplish so much this past month. Chapter organizations started gaining traction and bra donations surged across the country. One of I Support the Girls’ dearest friends, Carol Preston, even collected and donated over 750 bras to Bread for the City, a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., after being inspired by an article that The Washington Post wrote about our organization. Preston didn’t just stop with donating bras and feminine hygiene products though. She gave them away herself – organizing her own “bra giveaway” for the women of Bread for the City, enlisting my help and the aid of professional bra fitter Lane Brenner.
It was such a great event and very similar to the bra giveaway that we did with Thrive DC in February. Just like at Thrive DC, the women of Bread for the City were treated to massages, catered food, manicures, a yoga session, dancing (to the Cha Cha slide and the Wobble) and a gift card giveaway. The dozens of women in attendance wore matching purple shirts emblazoned with “Women Strong DC – Wellness Program of Bread for the City.” This program seeks to provide the women in the shelter with wellness of the mind, body, and spirit, which was definitely achieved during the bra giveaway. Everyone in attendance was laughing and having a great time. Their attitudes were infectious. The most heartwarming thing to see was when the women would find bras for each other without even being asked. I saw one woman find a beautiful, colorful bra and then give it to her friend, saying, “Here, try this on!” On a funnier note, one woman was looking through a pile of bras and asked jokingly, “What is a size G?” which elicited laughs because the ladies said they didn’t even know that was a size. The women were constantly joking with each other while picking out their bras, just like if they were shopping together at Victoria’s Secret or Aerie.
One woman exclaimed, “We’re getting these for free? They’re 60 dollars a pop!” a sentiment shared by many other women. This was followed up with another woman saying, “Thank you to everyone who donated bras! Can we sign a card?” So many ladies expressed their gratitude throughout the day, to Carol for collecting the bras, to Lane for fitting them, and to all the other volunteers who were there to help.
Speaking of Lane, her help with this bra giveaway was crucial to its success. She was able to help quite a few women realize that they had been wearing the wrong size, then get them fitted with a new size and find a new bra. Many women no longer knew their size because they had lost so much weight while being homeless. Lane made sure they all had new bras that fit more comfortably. She even helped a pregnant woman find new bras that would be a better fit for her changing body. Many of the women chose sports bras and ones without painful underwire because, as one woman put it, “I want something that’s comfortable, something that’s gonna hold me.” These women rarely get a new bra, some at the event had been wearing the same bra for a decade, so they wanted bras that were going to last.
This event is only able to happen once a year but it was announced towards the end of the day that it is now going to happen twice a year! Bread for the City was awarded the necessary grants to continue this aspect of their wellness program, which brought smiles to everyone’s faces.