Now that I have your attention…!
I have to admit that when I first heard about the Breast Oasis project at Temple Sholom, spearheaded by Pam Bondy, I was very skeptical. Bras are expensive and very personal, and, really, who would want my used (even gently used) bras?
Possibly encountering some similar resistance from others, Pam followed up on her initial request with a blog post which explained that bras are the most needed and least donated clothing items. “Women who worry about where they will be sleeping at night, how they will put food on the table for their children, and who will be there for an emergency,” she said, “also have to also think about how they will purchase a bra.” I thought back on my clothing donations in the past and remembered not one bra donation. I was really taken aback and not a little ashamed – that made perfect sense and I had never thought about it.
So I scoured my lingerie drawer and my initial results were even more shameful. I found lots of bras – some with the tags still on. Now, many women will know why this is: Maybe something that looked great in the store didn’t look quite the same under my favorite sweater; maybe I bought a bra for a special occasion that never materialized; maybe I even lost a little weight (wishful thinking!). Whatever the reason, I gathered up my bras and brought them to the temple.
And I was not alone. Pam tells me that over 250 bras have been collected and over 200 distributed so far. That seemed like a huge number to me, until I checked on the number of homeless people in Chicago. http://www.chicagohomeless.org/faq-studies/ Suffice it to say, our work is not done. Let’s take a first or second pass through our lingerie drawers and bring more bras in to Temple Sholom. Shame turns into pride – and the extra drawer space is great, too.
Here we are bagging bras, and here’s Pam delivering some of the donations, and below are links to the shelters where our donations have already been distributed. Thanks, Pam!
Lisa Millman is a Board Member of the Temple Sholom Sisterhood.