Starting A Conversation

We receive tens of emails daily asking for the nearest dropoff location. People across North America want to help and donate products for women experiencing homelessness in their community.

Our dedicated staff respond to every email and sometimes, we ask for the “back story” as to a particular donation. Today we’d like to share with you the story of one couple who asked to remain anonymous. They have been involved with I Support the Girls since November 2015 and regularly donate to us. Here’s the story of their latest donation, why they collect and donate and how they spread the word:

My wife and I are always looking for charity/volunteer opportunities that allow us to more directly help people. Often, this leads us to some unusual activities. To give examples, once a month, we buy pillows for a homeless shelter, or each Sunday we organize/participate in picking up extra fresh produce from a farmers market and deliver it to shelters, or we buy used cars to donate to victims of human trafficking, or we distribute food for Food for Others. In each case, we feel that there is a direct link between what we are doing and the person that we’re trying to help.

So, one day my wife was reading a Washington Post article about your organization and it seemed to fit exactly the type of charity we like. In addition, I’m kind of a bargain shopper and looking for inexpensive bras fits right into that interest/obsession. So, every time I get a 30% off coupon from Kohl’s, my wife and I head to Kohl’s for an hour or so to rummage through the 60-80% off bra rack, looking for the best bargains. Sort of a date night. We put a price limit of $10. We also do a little quality control. We look for bras that are sturdy, ones that will last a bit (or so I’m told by my wife). Sometimes we get just a few and sometimes we hit the jackpot (like this last time). In addition, it makes for good conversation with the Kohl’s staff and customers when we show up to the register with 20+ bras (or 20+ pillows for that matter).

Which brings me to this last Saturday. My wife was out of town and I noticed that my 30% off coupon was expiring on the 18th. My wife prefers us to do bra shopping together in case people start to think poorly of me and call security. However, since the coupon was expiring and my wife was out of town, I decided to go it alone. Good thing since this was our best haul yet.

Anyway, I actually went to the store to get pillows, but the price was too high, so I decided to look at the bras. Usually I bring a bag, but for some reason, I did not this time. When I got to the rack, I was amazed at how many bras met our price and quality point, so I started collecting them in my hand, hanging them on my fingers.

Spreading the Word

I was up to about 15 bras, when a mother and daughter joined me on the discount rack looking for bargains. I could see the daughter was asking her mom about me, so the mom made some comment about how good the prices were. I agreed and explained what I was doing. As the mother was looking for bargains for herself, she found a good bargain that was not her size and asked if I wanted it. Now things get interesting. I looked at the bra and noticed that the connection between the two cups was pretty thin and flimsy and explained to the mother why I had passed on it earlier. That led to a few minute discussion about bra quality, with us comparing what we had found. Kind of an odd conversation, but it seemed more normal at the time.

I finished bargain hunting. At that time, I had all 36 bras hanging from my fingers on one hand and headed to the register to check out. Needless to say, I got a few stares. It turns out there was a small line, so I went to the back of the line and a middle aged couple fell in behind me. I could see they were staring at me holding all these bras and I could hear they were discussing the possibilities to each other. I explained to them about your charity and what I was doing (a little advertising). Finally, I made it to the register. As usual, the cashier made some comment about the number of bras and I again explained what I was doing. We spoke a little while more about bras while she finished checking me out and I was on my way.

Now that’s a story to tell; and I did.

So, the bottom line: Great stories, great bargain hunting, and a great cause. What’s not to like!

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