As part of Campus Sustainability Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Office of Sustainability is hosting its first Bra-Vo Donation Drive to collect gently used and new bras for women in need.
Melissa Olsen, the Sustainability Coordinator of the Office of Sustainability, said the focus of the office is to educate the campus community about the importance of sustainable practices.
“In this case, instead of throwing away bras that are unwanted, gently used ones can be reused by women in need,” Olsen said. “Bras can also be recycled. After doing some research, we discovered numerous companies that if textiles are sent to them, they either reuse, repurpose or recycle them. We plan to contact one of these companies so we can also divert bras that may be headed for the landfill.”
Olsen also said that while their original goal was to collect only 50 bras, they have received 61 so far. Office employees hope to receive more in the two weeks left of the drive.
The Lighthouse Rescue Mission is one of the two shelters that will receive the donated bras. The Lighthouse, which has been operating in Hattiesburg for 13 years, aids women and children that are homeless or in need. In 2017 The Lighthouse Rescue Mission helped 45 women and 37 children.
Keri Holmes, the Lighthouse’s Residential Supervisor, said that although the Lighthouse has received donations in the past, they rarely receive undergarments.
“The awesome thing about [the donation drive] is that most people don’t think about undergarments,” Holmes said. “We get clothes and toys, but that’s something people don’t think about. Sometimes something as simple as a bra can be a worry to [the women in need] and can be a staggering block for them. If we can take away those staggering blocks for them, they’re more likely to be successful.”
Kim Thronson, Director of the Lighthouse, emphasized that many of the women who come to the shelter, arrive with little to no clothing, specifically undergarments. “Sometimes they come in without anything at all,” Thronson said.
“This is another opportunity that we can again provide them something, and that’s one less worry that they have to worry about,” Holmes said. “That’s what our ultimate goal is. For once to not give them something to worry about so that they can truly focus on themselves and their family. And something as simple as a bra is a huge deal in their minds.”
Donations are being accepted until Friday, Nov. 2. Donation boxes are located on the first floor of every residence hall. Students that do not live on campus but want to donate should email firstname.lastname@example.org.