Teclas (2014), by artist Alicia Marvan

You may be as surprised as I was to learn that used bras cannot be donated with the rest of your clothing items. I always knew that underwear was something that is a one-person-only type of garment, but bras? This simple fact makes it very difficult for charities to supply women with a very basic staple. The YWCA of Western New York recently shed some light on this need in our community at the recent BraVa! event held this past Friday at the gorgeous atrium event space in 500 Seneca.

A Little Help in the Garden (2018) by artist Kathryn Takats

At this fundraiser (and bra-raiser), guests were asked to bring a new bra with the tags on, as part of their entry. Many guests brought more than one (including Qween City — we brought a nice variety pack in a larger size, in all sorts of beautiful colors). There was a silent auction featuring artworks themed on the brassiere, a bar, some music, and delicious items to snack on, courtesy of the ECC culinary students. The highlight for the evening was hearing some incredibly powerful and moving memoir poetry and prose performances, centered around breasts, our bras, and the stories that come from them. The works were selected from the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and they made us both laugh out loud and get misty-eyed.

Pinata Tatas (2018) by artist Caesandra Seawell

The YWCA helps thousands of women in our community each year. Some women are escaping abusive situations either alone or with their children, often finding themselves in temporary housing with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They are in need of not just clothing, but other staples such as personal care items; feminine hygiene products; clothes and toys for their children; furniture for their new housing; and all manner of houseware. It can take weeks for applications to be approved for furniture and other necessities, so sometimes they have to manage with barely more than a bed.

Poet Bianca L. McGraw with Director of YWCA Housing Services Deanna Workman
Performer Janice Hetrick

Getting interview-ready is one of the things the YWCA assists these women with, by getting them set up with some nice work clothes and helping them with their resume. One thing that is constantly lacking is a good bra. Not having your breasts properly supported can ruin a woman’s confidence when sitting in front of a potential employer. Think about how insecure or not put together you feel when you don’t have a properly fitting bra. And the larger the breasts, the harder it is — because larger sizes are just not commonly donated. People tend to think that donating a 38 or a 40 D is a ‘large size,’ but let’s be real — these are more of an average size. The YWCA is in need of larger sizes, in order to help the women they serve.

The YWCA would like you to keep in mind the following:

–Bras are one of the most in-demand clothing items for women in need, especially larger sizes;
–Bras can be prohibitively expensive; women are often forced to choose between basic needs (food for children) and a bra;
–Bras, on average, last less than 12 months.
In attendance at this event was the YWCA CEO and organizer of this event, Jill Ann Robbins-Jabine, as well as seasoned attorney Lindy Korn, professor Sheryl Duquette, and musician Kerry Fey, just to name a few. The room was bursting with go-getting ladies from all fields and professions, united to help their fellow bra-wearing sisters in need.

Please consider donating a new bra (in a large size, please!) or any of the other items they are in need of, now and throughout the year. They gladly accept donations at all times.

Lindy Korn, Sheryl Duquette, Jill Ann Robbins-Jabine, and Kerry Fey.

You can contact the YWCA via email at [email protected], or call (716) 852-6120 x.107. If you prefer to make a monetary donation, they take PayPal, so doing that is easy as well! They have big plans on hosting many more events in 2019, so keep checking their website for more info.

So next time you are out bra shopping, grab an extra one to donate. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for 2019’s BraVa! event! We will see you there, on November 1!