Bras and Dignity: Is Your Old Full Bust Bra a Lost Cause, or Can It Go to a Good Cause?

This is the fourth in my series on Support 1000, Hourglassy’s adopted cause for the year. Last month we learned that there are more C- donations than D+ donations because full-busted women tend to wear out their expensive bras. It made me wonder: How much is too worn out to donate?  Here’s what I learned.

On one end of the spectrum, there are the new bras that people donate for a multitude of reasons, including this one:

(You can see other photos of notes that Support 1000 receives on their Flickr page.)

On the other end of the spectrum are the bras that should have been sent to the waste basket instead of to Support 1000. These have:

  • stretched out elastic that is clearly worn out
  • missing or broken straps
  • excessive staining or tearing
  • underwires either missing or poking out

When supervising the pack and ship sessions, Support 1000’s Catherine Herzog tells volunteers, “If you wouldn’t wear it, we won’t send it.”  As she explains it, “I think the bottom line of all of our bra needs is our mission of dignity. Worn out, dirty bras do not help the women we serve. I appeal to volunteers and donors to put themselves in our client’s shoes and imagine what THEY would like to receive.”

A bra that is still in good shape and simply missing a tag is fine . . . but without more, it’s not getting to the woman who needs it anytime soon. Right now Support 1000 has a large box of bras waiting to be sized. If your donation is missing tags, include a note or a homemade tag letting Support 1000 know the sizes you are sending.

And don’t air your dirty laundry–that’s another delaying factor! As Catherine told me, “You’d be surprised by how many truly dirty bras we receive. We do try to wash them, but our space and resources are limited, so that is a hardship.”

After you’ve washed your donations and made sure they are something you yourself would like to receive, why not go the extra mile? Here are the packages that Support 1000 loves receiving:

The donations that really make me [Catherine] smile – and are memorable – are the ones that come beautifully packaged. My dream day at Support1000 is opening a package wrapped in brown parcel paper to find 5-10 neatly packed bras in tissue paper, with a note to us about what bras (including sizes) they have sent, and why they are sending them. I love the stories that people send us along with their bras, and it is so touching to see how carefully people are sharing this part of their lives with us.