FAQs

General

I Support the Girls (ISTG) collects donations of new/used bras and new sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads and distributes them to girls and women experiencing homelessness.

Started by one woman out of her house in Silver Spring, Maryland, I Support the Girls has quickly grown into a worldwide movement. There are 47 North American affiliates and seven worldwide (Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand), with more opening soon. Please see our Locations page for more information.

One woman: Dana Marlowe. A business owner, mother, loser of weight (plays a pivotal role in how ISTG came about). I Support the Girls is Dana’s passion project, what keeps her up at night and moving during the day. Dana’s personal efforts have led to ISTG expanding across North America and worldwide. Because one person can make a BIG difference in the lives of thousands.

Dignity is dignity.

For the 180,000 girls and women experiencing homelessness across the U.S., bras and menstrual hygiene products are considered a luxury. Some women on the streets wear the same bra for eight years. This means more than occasional back pain from the lack of support her stretched-out underwire offers. It also means the potential for infection from the material continuously rubbing against her skin, not to mention the daily embarrassment of a sagging, ill-fitting bra.

Every day thousands of girls and women have to choose between a meal or buying maxi pads. We strip away any last remaining shreds of dignity when we force women to clean their periods each month with unwashed rags, or a wad of rolled up toilet paper- really, whatever is around that’s free and available.
Our mission is to allow these girls and women to maintain their dignity and self-respect.

Over the last four years, ISTG has…

– established 54 affiliates across the U.S. and 5 internationally (Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand)

– collected and distributed 600,000 bras

– collected and distributed 3,500,000 menstrual hygiene products

– helped over 320,000 women (women and girls experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, victims of sex trafficking, refugees, evacuees affected by natural disasters)

– worked with 700 vetted donation partners (homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, refugee resettlement homes, foster care agencies, LGBTQ agencies,  homes for pregnant teens and more)

– partnered with more than 300 businesses and corporations to organize drives and collections and receive in-kind donations. Partners include: Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, the City of Chicago, Spotify, Marriott, LOLA, Warby Parker, Lowe’s, Nordstrom’s, SOMA and Kimberly-Clark.

– been featured in national and local media over 350 times, providing an opportunity for our team to advocate for the rights of women experiencing homelessness and raise awareness about women’s dignity and health. Outlets include: AP, NPR, Washington Post, USA Today, AJ+, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Newsweek and Yahoo News.

- distributed 210,000 menstrual hygiene products to high school students, to keep girls in school when they have their period

- distributed 350,000 products to evacuees of hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters

Programs

Yes! Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and we thank you for considering giving your time and energies to furthering our mission. Please fill in this brief form and we will get back to you shorty.

The Affiliate Network is the network of locations across the U.S. and globally we have built in order to meet the local needs of girls and women experiencing homelessness. ‘Collect locally, donate locally’ is the driving methodology behind The Affiliate Network. Each affiliate utilizes individual regional knowledge to determine the best donation points and collection methods to serve their unique community.

The Force for Change programs encompass advocacy, unique populations special requests from partners and creates long term change in the lives of those they serve. ISTG has utilized corporate partnerships and private donations to meet these needs. The unique groups served include:

  • Breast cancer survivors
  • School districts: The financial choice between menstrual hygiene products and food is somewhat obvious, but equally important are the times when girls are forced to choose petty theft or missing school. ISTG partnered with Chicago Public Schools and the CDC to ensure access to hygiene products so that students could still come to school during their period. Over 210,000 products have been distributed so far.
  • Native Americans
  • Federal, state, and local correctional facilities, programs serving released or bonded women and girls: Inmates at correctional facilities are offered yoga or exercise classes to help them get to a healthier place, but they have only one or two old bras that don’t adequately support them. A partnership with correctional facilities to provide sports bras for the women who are interested in bettering themselves while incarcerated gives dignity to those who have very little. Additionally, ISTG has partnered with the Indiana Department of Corrections to provide 10,000 bras for women who are released from correctional facilities and need a new bra, considering they may be leaving prison with the same bra they entered with.
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • International programs
  • Transgender teens and adults: Many transgender youth are rejected by their families and communities, end up in shelters or on the street, and don’t have the resources for a healthy transition process.  Through our Force for Change Program, these youth know that they are supported and safe.
  • Veterans
  • Migrant farm workers
  • Youth programs

Drives/Collections

You’re amazing! Thanks for your support. Please register your drive by filling out this form here and we’ll be in touch!

For sure! We can put you in contact with our local affiliate head who will coordinate the dropoff and distribution.

Nope! Any amount of products your drive collects will be greatly appreciated by girls and women experiencing homelessness in your community.

Every drive is different and there are many factors which affect the total amount of products collected. Best to be realistic when deciding upon a goal- it’s important to factor in how many people you can reach with your call to action and how much time the drive will be ongoing.

There’s never a bad time to host a drive! We work 24/7/365 to distribute products so drives during any point in the year are always welcome.

Donations are collected locally by our affiliates and then distributed locally to our organizational partners.

Items donated to specific affiliates are distributed to women and girls experiencing homelessness in that city through homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, refugee resettlement homes, foster care agencies, LGBTQ agencies, homes for pregnant teens and more.

Please complete this form. Keep in mind:

  1. We donate to registered organizations, with others considered on a case-by-case basis. If you are an individual, please find an affiliate near you to connect you to a location that distributes our donations.
  2. If you are collecting for a project or putting together care packages, we are happy to help you by sending you information on how to hold a successful drive. Simply fill out the drive registration form above. Thanks!
  3. We are unable currently to pay shipping costs to send you products. If you are near an affiliate, we can easily connect with you. If not, please be prepared to cover your shipping costs. We can provide an estimate for planning purposes.

Products

There are a number of donation options:

  • Check our locations to find a donation site near you
  • Mail products to:

I Support the Girls
Attn: Dana Marlowe
P.O. Box 2736
Wheaton, Maryland 20915

Any kind of bra, gently used or new, in good condition is accepted.

A bra is defined as gently used if you would give it to a sister or girlfriend. We want it laundered with no tears, rips, or problems with the clasps/hooks. We do not accept ones with underwire poking out, visible tears in the fabric, or metal clasps broken.

Regular bras, underwire bras, sports bras, training bras, maternity bras, nursing bras, lacy bras, cotton bras, satiny bras, binders and everything in between.

All sizes accepted from training bras to custom made, extremely large bras.

Yes, as long as they are unused and individually sealed or in a sealed box.

Any brand or size as long as they are individually sealed.

Yes, please tape up the box or package with all the individually sealed items inside.

The best product with the most impact would be overnight maxi pads with wings.

We happily accept new sealed cups, which we can distribute.

Natural Disasters

Your period doesn’t stop because of a hurricane or wildfire! Tens of thousands of girls and women are evacuated from their homes without a chance to pack personal items, including bras and menstrual hygiene products. This means they lack the most basic, personal items and temporary shelters unfortunately do not have enough for everyone.

When we know of an impending natural disaster, we work with our local affiliate, ship them products in advance and help meet the initial need. Donations which come in for disaster relief are collected, packaged and shipped as quickly as possible to the affected areas.

Our affiliate heads put out the call for donations locally. They collect and ship products. Additionally, we set up an Amazon wishlist which includes the most requested items. Our goal is to make sure we deliver exactly what is requested and needed.

Unfortunately, natural disasters happen and wreak havoc for thousands of people in their paths. ISTG is experienced with mobilizing quickly and helping during a time of need. We have delivered hundreds of thousands of products, almost immediately, to people affected by

  • Wildfires in California in 2018
  • Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017
  • Baton Rouge, LA Flooding in 2016
  • Hurricane Matthew, NC in 2016
  • Gatlinburg Wildfires in TN in 2016
  • Silver Spring, MD apartment complex fires in 2016

Because our affiliate network covers all regions of the U.S., we can mobilize quickly to help meet the need. Our affiliates reach out to their local networks in order to solicit and funnel donations to the affected areas. For example, I Support the Girls has 3 Texas affiliates (in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio), an affiliate in south Florida and in Charleston, SC which worked around the clock in the summer of 2017 to provide donated products for hurricane evacuees. Tens of thousands of products were donated from across the U.S. and some of the donated products were shipped to Puerto Rico to help those affected by Hurricane Maria. ISTG requested sealed menstrual products and/or new or washed gently used bras and people responded in a big way!

Donations

ISTG is a 501c3 within its parent organization, For the Girls, Inc., a national clearinghouse that provides guidelines, resources, and support to individuals and organizations to assist in collecting bras and menstrual hygiene products to donate to homeless shelters for women in need.

Yes, you can. Please email info@isupportthegirls.org to request a tax receipt for a product donation. You will automatically receive one for a monetary donation.

There are a number of donation options:

  1. Donate to your local affiliate. See our affiliate locations here.
  2. Mail them to:
    I Support the Girls
    P.O. Box 2736
    Silver Spring, Maryland 20915

Click here to donate online

Checks should be made out to For The Girls, Inc. You can mail checks to:

I Support the Girls
P.O. Box 2736
Silver Spring, Maryland 20915

Homelessness- Stats & Resources

There are 600,000 people experiencing homelessness in the U.S.

Girls and women comprise 30% (180,000) of the U.S. homeless population and they are the fastest growing segment of that population.

At least 360,000 bras as each girl and woman should have at least two bras.

Almost 39 million menstrual hygiene products are needed annually in order to allow all girls and women living on the streets to maintain their dignity.

It is estimated that there are 150,000,000 persons experiencing homelessness around the world.