On a warm winter day in February, women filed into the small building of a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Some stopped to say hello to familiar faces, and others caught up with friends.
Many had been here before, to pick up what they needed from the collection of donated shoes, coats and shirts.
But on this day, they all congregated in the center of the room, where a special delivery of bras and maxipads waited for them.
With poverty affecting about 40 million Americans, many women struggle to make ends meet. That means a $10 box of pads each month for their periods may not make the family grocery list.
A $25 bra that fits properly can become a luxury. It’s been reported that many women have even traded tampons for food stamps.
For the women in February who visited So Others Might Eat (SOME), a human services agency that supports poor and homeless D.C. residents, they were receiving the bras and sanitary products for free — a welcome help when there are other things to worry about.
Shawn, who is re-entering society, was shopping for bras at SOME’s clothing closet when InsideEdition.com visited.
“I have been diagnosed with breast cancer," she said. "I’m about to have surgery and … I have to wear certain type of bras that I can’t afford to buy because I am not working. It means a lot. I don’t have money to pay for them,” Shawn said.
Shawn’s new post-surgery bra came as part of a donation from I Support the Girls, a nonprofit that collects new and used bras, as well as sealed menstrual products, and donates them to women in need.
A 42-year-old mom named Dana Marlowe has been running the company out of her split-level home in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the last four years.