Regularly reviewing and sorting through your clothing is a great way to help yourself and your community. Millions of Americans are living below the poverty line, and that includes girls and women who are unable to buy even the most basic necessities.
For some, that makes even a poorly fitting bra a luxury they just can’t afford.
Can you donate bras?
If you’re cleaning out your drawers and come across a bra you no longer wear, can you donate it? While you can’t donate all undergarments (no underwear, please), you can donate new or used bras.
Where to Donate Bras
If your bra is in relatively good condition, you can likely donate it to one of these places:
Local Women’s Shelters
A great place to consider is your local women’s shelter. These organizations provide shelter and protection to women and children suffering from violence, abuse, and homelessness.
Most shelters welcome donations of any item that can help the women who rely on their services, including bras. Unfortunately, local shelters may not have the same notoriety or national connections that larger charitable organizations have. That makes this an excellent option for not only your bras but other items, like clothing and shoes.
Homelessness can rob women and girls of so much, including access to bras and female hygiene products. I Support the Girls works to help restore dignity to women who are homeless, living in a shelter, or fleeing domestic violence. They also donate to organizations in the LGBTQ community, disaster relief efforts, veterans, and correctional facilities.
Incorporated in 2010, Donate Your Bra is a non-profit organization that collects and donates bras, lingerie, and swimsuits to women who have recently undergone a mastectomy. Specifically, the group distributes collected items to shelters and breast cancer survivor groups to help women cope with the physical, emotional, and mental effects of breast cancer.
Free the Girls is an international non-profit organization aiming to help rescued sex trafficking victims safely return to society and build a new life. To date, the organization has donated 1.2 million bras to women around the world.
What do I do with old and broken bras?
If the bra is ripped or torn, has broken or missing hooks, straps, etc., you won’t want to donate it to organizations like those above. But that doesn’t mean you should toss it in the regular household trash. Instead, consider sending it to one of these organizations.
When parting with worn, torn, or unusable clothing, it’s easy to toss it into the garbage, but you can keep it out of landfills and be a bit more environmentally friendly by donating it.
The B.R.A. Agency collects used bras, especially those that can’t be donated for use, and turns them into carpet padding. The metal from bra wires can’t be used for carpet padding, so instead, it’s sold, and B.R.A. Agency donates 100% of the proceeds to cancer research.
Next time you go through your drawers and make space for new clothing, consider donating your bras to one of the organizations above. In doing so, you’ll be helping women and girls gain access to what they deserve: dignity, comfort, and confidence.