Donating bras can help a good cause
A Comox Valley mother-and-daughter team want your bras to help a good cause.
Yvonne Moran-Mead and her daughter Demi, 18, are collecting new and gently used bras for female human trafficking survivors in other parts of the world. The survivors earn their own money by selling the undergarments as they start their lives over.
"Bras are an easy thing (to donate)," says Yvonne. "We're so lucky to be able to afford a bra … and there's these girls who, some have never had a bra, and you combine that with the abuse and everything else that they've seen — you want them to have a chance to feel productive, be self-sufficient for themselves...."
Yvonne and Demi just started collecting bras here a couple of weeks ago after hearing about a U.S.-based non-profit organization called Free The Girls. The organization launched in 2010 and has since collected over 80,000 gently used bras from women all over the world.
Bras were shipped to women in Mozambique, most of whom according to the organization's website, were sold into prostitution when they were between the ages of eight and 10.
The project in Mozambique was dubbed a success, with the women making up to five times the minimum wage in their area, as second-hand clothing is a profitable market.
Free The Girls now plans to send bras to four more locations around the world — Kenya, Uganda, Mexico and El Salvador.
When Yvonne started researching the organization she liked what she saw, noting the sustainability of the initiative.
"It's sustainable because the girls are allowed to have a certain number of bras free of charge and then, in order to keep it going, they pay a small fee to get more bras into it, and they can work and go to school and try to feel better about themselves and their life," explains Yvonne, adding she was blown away by a Feb. 15 CNN report showing the success of the initiative.
"You can see how it can actually change a woman's life — it's a big impact."
Demi chimes in that most women have at least one bra they bought but don't wear for whatever reason, pointing out her and Yvonne are happy to pick up bras anywhere from Campbell River to Nanaimo.
The mother-daughter duo own Sweet Little Baby Cakes, a Comox Valley home-based business selling decorative 'cakes' made out of baby diapers. They travel up and down Island regularly for work so they say it's easy for them to pick up bras.
As of a week ago, they had already collected 40 bras, but they hope to collect many more before they ship the first package of bras down to Free The Girls.
Anyone who would like more information can call Yvonne or Demi at 250-897-3224, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.sweetlittlebabycake.weebly.com.
Also, in an effort to collect more bras they're offering five per cent off their baby cakes for each bra donated — a donation of 20 bras means a free cake.
Yvonne stresses bras don't need to be fancy, as long as they are in good shape, and if they're too worn to sell, Yvonne and Demi will donate them somewhere locally.
Bras of all shapes, sizes and colours are accepted, including sports bras, nursing bras and camisoles, and Yvonne and Demi urge Comox Valley women to have a look around their homes for bras they don't use.
"I think all of us know we have some in the drawer," says Yvonne, using her girlfriend's reaction as a common example. "She goes 'Oh my goodness I've got so many, you're right, I haven't even worn that one for goodness sakes.' "
For more information on Free The Girls visit www.freethegirls.org.