Friday, January 21, 2011

Women — Don’t Burn Those Bras!*

Today I call attention to a little-discussed problem — bra hoarding. 

Over 307 million people live in the US, and 51% are female. Most of those females (75% of whom are over 18) wear a bra, at least some of the time. Many women own one or more they never wear (and never will wear) for one reason or another. This adds up to millions and millions of unworn bras! Most of these garments are taking up valuable space because their owners are clueless about what to do with them, short of throwing them in the trash. 

Thanks to a recent post from my fellow blogger Joanie, I have an alternative to the trash bin. Beginning on Monday, January 24, and continuing through Valentine’s Day, you can donate your unwanted bras to women and girls who WILL wear them, by dropping them off at your local Soma Intimates store. Last year Soma collected more than 28,000 bras. This year’s goal is 50,000.

In a press release for the event Soma president Laurie van Brunt states, “A bra is one of the least donated, but most needed items for the homeless and victims of domestic violence. While donating a bra may sound like a small thing, it makes a big difference to women who have to make the choice between putting food on the table and buying a bra.” 

Gently used bras will be donated to local women’s shelters and breast cancer survivor groups. If a bra is not wearable, it will be given to The Bra Recyclers, a textile recycling company focused on “doing our part to recycle and reuse bras (textiles) that unnecessarily go to landfills.” In addition, Soma Intimates will donate more than 1,000 new bras to Dress for Success.

Check out the Soma site to find a store near you. For New Haven readers, that would be the Milford Marketplace (home to Whole Foods and other fine stores). 

If you don’t get around to sorting your undies by the drive's February 14 deadline, you can mail them directly to The Bra Recyclers in Gilbert, Arizona. The Bra Recyclers has also partnered with Angel Wings International to send bras to women in Haiti.

Here in Connecticut we’ve just finished shoveling out AGAIN! and an Arctic blast is on the way. What better way to spend a housebound weekend than by starting your spring cleaning? How about one drawer as a first step?

One last thing, just for fun… here’s a bra that’s not likely to be heading to a collection box.

*The title contains a reference to the burning of bras by feminists in the 1960s to call attention to their cause — according to snopes, a myth — at least at the 1968 Miss America pageant where the law-abiding protestors could not obtain the necessary permit to set the contents of the trash can on fire.

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