Last night, I had the distinct privilege of visiting some wonderful women at the New Jerusalem Women’s Emergency Shelter, a program designed to help homeless women stay warm and safe this winter while also providing resources for growth and success. Everyone from the volunteers to the staff to the women themselves were smiling, joyful, and lovely to meet, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to give them a proper bra fitting, well, as proper as we could manage with only my eyes and a measuring tape. Still, it was a service many of them had never experienced, and we were able to chat briefly with each woman about sizing, fitting, and the many bra styles available. Our store is no stranger to accepting bra donations, and we work with both local domestic violence shelters as well as Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse (TROSA) to collect intimate apparel donations from around the state. In fact, my friend Kat who owns Luxury on the Outer Banks has also volunteered her time as a fitter to participate in a joint bra fitting event at TROSA in a few weeks.
However, there’s a problem. I am completely out of donations. A week prior to setting up the bra fitting appointment with the shelter, I scheduled a pick-up of 150 donated bras with TROSA, and in the short time I had before last night’s event, I only managed to bring 10 bras with me. Furthermore, one of the issues we face because of the generous but variable nature of donations is some people’s sizes are never represented. Donations of every size are welcome because many of the programs, like the domestic violence shelters and TROSA, serve a rotation of women, meaning eventually someone enters the program who can wear the donated bras. With the Winter Emergency shelter, we are working with a relatively static base of women, and time is against us.
First and foremost, no one at the shelter had a bra which truly fit. Some were better than others, but most needed cup sizes larger than what they were wearing. One woman even wore two bras to give her some of kind of control. As someone who was fortunate to have family who could take me in during my own housing crisis this year, it was a sobering moment to realize how many things I take for granted everyday, including my bras. I want to help, but in addition to these ladies needing the bras quickly for practical reasons, they also need them because the shelter closes March 31st. It is a winter only shelter, meaning I don’t have time to collect a few here and there and keep sending them over. I need a big push in their sizes all at once, ideally by March 1st so I can deliver the box and double-check sizing for everyone.
Many of my friends have mentioned wanting to find ways they can contribute more to their communities, particularly areas that are underfunded like resources for women, and this is a simple way of giving back directly. 100% of every donation goes to these women. We are not a non-profit with expenses, and all of my time, gas, and energy is donated for free. Whatever you can give goes directly to a woman in need.
Through the fittings last night, I assembled a rough list of sizes in both wired and wireless bras. There were also some who expressed interest in wireless sport bras of the Small-Medium-Large variety or bralettes like Coobie offers. All sizes are in US/UK sizing, and any size in bold means multiple women wear it, thus requiring more donations.
Wireless Sizes: 36C, 36D, 40D, 40DD, 40DDD/E, 40G/F, 42D, 42DDD/E, 44C
[UPDATE: I changed sizes to reflect our current needs given what we received so far in donations as 3/1/17!]
I understand this a sporadic size range, and with the prevalence of requests for wireless, it also may be hard to satisfy. With that in mind, we will also accept cash or check donations (no credit cards or Paypal to avoid fees) because I will personally take the donations and use them to buy bras at our wholesale cost in size ranges or styles for which were not donated. I want every lady there to have at least one new bra. To put this in perspective, we have bras with wholesale costs in this range as low as $19. I know this is asking you to trust that I will take the donations and direct them toward bras, but I hope after five and half years of reading the blog and meeting me in person, that you know I will honor the request. Any bras sent to us need to be new or in gently used condition for this particular charity.
If you would like to donate anything, especially if you have bras in this size range, please drop by the store or mail them to:
A Sophisticated Pair
1143E St. Mark’s Church Road
Burlington, NC 27215
I realize times are tough for many of our readers, and if you cannot contribute financially or with donations at this time, please share this post with your friends, work colleagues, and family. Even if you have bras outside the size range outlined above, we will accept and organize them for our next donation pool. This is truly an opportunity for you to make a positive, tangible impact on someone’s life.