Donating Underwear for the Homeless

In this holiday season of Yule and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Christmas, we are often asked to donate various things for those less fortunate: food, toys, money. Well, how about underwear?

While the rest of us consider our undergarments a luxury, there are those who don’t even have more than one set. When the homeless lose that one set in the rush of an emergency, there’s a problem. That problem was noticed by an emergency doctor and nurse who found that many patients were leaving their hospital without clean socks or a complete set of dry clothes.

The cause was picked up by the Paramedics for the BC Ambulance Service in western Canada. These folks are trying to fill an entire ambulance with socks and underwear for the holiday season.

Back in the days when I was unmarried and living in Toronto, I volunteered for a homeless centre for women in the downtown area. One of the services provided was free clothing for clients, provided through donation. These women didn’t just need something to keep them warm in the cold; many also needed bras and panties.

One of the most humbling experiences I ever had was watching one young woman try on a pretty bra that she found on the rack. It happened to be just her size. Once she had the lovely garment on, her whole face lit up. Even her posture straightened. She squealed into the mirror, “Oh! I look beautiful!” It was a revelation.

It broke my heart. I realized how fortunate I was to be able to buy whatever I wanted (within reason).

If you’ve never considered donating old, unwanted – but still useful – underthings that are no longer your size, or colour or preference, call up your local homeless shelter or women’s shelter. They might just take these items. If they do, you can boost the self-esteem of another woman by helping her to feel better about herself.

As an added bonus, you’ll have more room in your own lingerie drawer, to fill with something new for you.