Each morning most of us stand in front of out closets staring into a color coordinated cornucopia of options. We get to ask ourselves the privileged question - how do we feel like presenting ourselves today? Is it an athleisure kind of day with our favorite Lululemon joggers, or maybe we feel like dressing up so we can break out those new Altuzarra heels? We land on the pants we had altered to hit perfectly above our ankle, a trendy slide and our favorite Acne tee. Off we go, feeling comfortable and confident in part to all those little decisions we got to make.
What we didn't consciously think about was our bra. Of course we thought about it, in a mindless way like when you're driving and you get far along in your route and wonder where your brain has been the entire time. We definitely combed through a drawer complete with push ups, t-shirt, wireless, black classics, hot pinks, sports bras, cross back, deep-v, and bandeaus to pick the one that worked perfectly under that white Acne tee but we don't include that as a decision when putting an outfit together.
We forget how fortunate we are to have so many options, to be selective, and to try a few on to see which one will make our shirt lay better and has the perfect palette to play it's incognito role. The reality is there are many, many women in unfortunate situations who can't afford housing or food for their family, so having a seemingly endless array of bra options isn't the need - finding a one that fits properly is the priority.
Fortunately, the founders behind non-profit Be a Dear and Donate a Brassiere noticed the demand for bras in cities that experience high levels of poverty and decided to platform this often ignored issue. Since 2009, Be a Dear has collected over 24,000 bras providing them to homeless and poverty stricken women, including pregnant women shifting sizes, transgender, or women in need of unique sizes. Their mission started when one of the co-founders watched a homeless woman take a bra that was far too small for her because it was 'better than nothing'. She quickly realized how infrequently she came across bra donations while working at a clothing distribution office and looked for a solution.
Be a Dear gets donations from lingerie shops, women who have had mastectomies, plastic surgeons offices and women like us, who have gently worn bras for a myriad of reasons. We underestimate how important the proper fit of a bra is, an ill-fitting bra is not just uncomfortable but offers a host of health concerns like rashes and cuts if the bra is too small or back issues if the girls aren't properly supported. This simple gesture provides women in need of assistance with self-confidence, dignity and empowerment. What Be a Dear is really doing is "leveling the playing field, in some small way, for women who are struggling to survive".
While most of the organization runs on donated bras and volunteers, money collected from fundraisers and grants is used as a "bra bank" for women who need something that isn't likely to be donated. How can you help? It's all in the numbers, the more bras they receive, the more personalized fit someone in need can get so this year when you're spring cleaning, don't forget about the lingerie drawer! If you feel your collection is worth donating, Be a Dear suggests calling your local shelters and donation centers to see if they accept them, so you can help those in your community. If not, they will happily accept what you have.