When a new bra slid across the counter and into Sandra’s hands at St. Vincent de Paul’s Resource Center for people experiencing homelessness, the 48-year-old woman became overwhelmed with gratitude.
Sandra had been without a bra for almost a year. Fighting back tears, she shared tales of harassment in public and expressed deep embarrassment when people asked her to cover herself in businesses due to the lack of appropriate clothing.
An expensive undergarment for any woman — but especially for a woman living on the street — Sandra simply couldn’t afford the essential item. She had more pressing needs that took financial priority, like food, a winter jacket and durable shoes.
Sandra hadn’t always lived like this. She once had a home and husband, but she gave up her job to care for him when he became gravely ill. When he passed, she was left unable to pay his extensive medical bills. During the pandemic, she struggled to find work again, falling further into financial trouble. Sandra defaulted on paying rent and utilities, eventually leading to her eviction.
Six months into homelessness, Sandra showed up at SVdP’s Resource Center for a fresh shower and clothing. She never expected a new bra. It’s an item staff makes available every 21 days to women who rely on the center, and annually hands out about 3,500 bras to women.
Sandra’s new bra made all the difference that day and beyond, not just for her physical health (a bra can help with decreased back pain and posture), but also for her own self-confidence and restored dignity.
Now, she continues on her job search uplifted all around.
Help get bras to women experiencing homelessness. Throughout October, SVdP's Women in Service and Hope (WISH) group is collecting new and gently used bras for women experiencing homelessness. Drop off donations for the bra drive at SVdP's main campus (2120 S. 3rd Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85003) or donate online.
Just $10 purchases a bra for a woman in need. www.stvincentdepaul.net/WISHdignitydrive