Below are programs I Support The Girls operates for many different populations across the U.S. and globally.
The Affiliate Network
In July 2015, the concept behind I Support the Girls (ISTG) was born out of a conversation between the Founder & Executive Director, Dana Marlowe, and a salesclerk at a SOMA boutique. With the words, “Homeless women need bras,” the first drive for donations began. Marlowe spoke with a homeless shelter in her area that confirmed that bras are infrequently donated, in high demand, and expensive to purchase. It was the same story with menstrual hygiene products. Women on the street regularly choose between food and these items, meaning often they end up using creative means to address their needs: belts around their chest to replace bras; wadded up toilet paper, paper towels, or newspaper instead of hygiene products.
In April 2016, ISTG was officially incorporated as a nonprofit and its grassroots efforts continued to spread throughout the country and the world. Affiliate Directors started programs in their local communities. Each affiliate utilizes individual regional knowledge to determine the best donation points and collection methods to serve their unique community.
In order to become an affiliate, the volunteer must undergo a vetting process to ensure that the position is a good fit. Due to the local nature of the work, each affiliate works uniquely. ‘Collect locally, donate locally’ is the driving methodology behind The Affiliate Network. Since people approach ISTG and not the other way around, the result is a strong, dedicated legion of people working independently towards a common goal. ISTG donates nationally and internationally to organizations that serve women in hard situations.
In the last four years, ISTG has received donations from all 50 states and more than 25 countries. In addition to the more than 5 million bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products donated, ISTG has donated over 425,000 toiletries including soaps, shampoos, etc. around the country.
Disaster Relief Program
Individuals, organizations, and even the federal government have requested that ISTG send aid to areas affected by flooding, fires, and other disasters that require sudden evacuation. Flooding in Baton Rouge, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and Matthew, the Gatlinburg wildfires in Tennessee, and the devastating 2018 wildfires in California have all necessitated immediate response with large quantities of product. Menstrual hygiene products and bras are rarely on the mind when one is racing to collect treasured items on the way out the door, but are still just as necessary in the aftermath. ISTG’s unique structure allows for a rapid response, which many disaster relief organizations are unable to do. Over 600,000 products have been distributed.
ISTG has expanded its Disaster Response Program to make it more nimble and ensure a constant stock of supplies. With a warehouse storing ample supplies, we can provide higher levels of instant support in the case of a disaster and sudden homelessness.
Force for Change Programs
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 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 menstrual 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. However, they have only one or two old bras that do not provide adequate support. 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. They 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.
- Migrant farm workers
- Youth programs
Please contact us to receive more information.