Why Bras N Things is collecting unwanted bras

Why Bras N Things is collecting unwanted bras

Why Bras N Things is collecting unwanted bras
Kristy Sexton-McGrath | 28/08/2020

Bras N Things has issued a call to customers: drop off your unwanted bras.

Until October 21, customers can drop their unwanted garments to any Bras N Things stores.

The garments will be donated to women in need, as part of a colloboration with charity Support The Girls.

Bras N Things will also donate underwear and other crucial items as part of the cause.

The partnership is in line with its new ‘Made For Every Body’ campaign, featuring fashion, active, sleepwear and lingerie styles for all women.

Bras N Things has joined forces with Australian charity Support The Girls in line with the launch of its new campaign were in line with the core values of Bras N Things.

National marketing manager Natalie Chalmers said both the partnership and campaign were in line with the core values of Bras N Things.

“A core value shared by all of us at Bras N Things is to empower women to feel beautiful from the inside out, and we are proud to be partnering with Jane [Holmes, CEO] and Support The Girls who shares this vision.”

The brand’s new range includes fashion lingerie in 10DD-GG, 12DD-G, 14DD-G and 16DD-F; an active wear bra with contour cups, underwire for support and spacer fabrication for temperature control; satin sleepwear in sizes 8-16; and playwear with crisscrossed ribbon, cut outs and lace detailing in cup sizes ranging from 10-14E.

❝Support the Girls❞…helping disadvantaged women of Australia!

❝Support the Girls❞…helping disadvantaged women of Australia!

❝Support the Girls❞…helping disadvantaged women of Australia!
Rachel Pleasant | 28/08/2020

Thank you for your generous donations.

To most of us, a bra and sanitary items are essentials, not luxuries. For the homeless, elderly and domestic violence impacted women of Australia, it’s often a distant dream.

HiRUM recently leapt to ‘Support the Girls’, and help the disadvantaged women of Australia, encouraging staff, clients and friends to drop off new or gently loved bras, new toiletries, underwear and sanitary items, to be distributed to local Gold Goast women in need.

We were completely overwhelmed by the positive response from everyone, with the collection of 100s of dollars-worth of essentials. We are looking forward to dropping off all the amazing donations to ‘Support the Girls’, and I am sure they will be thrilled. A big thank you to everyone for their generous donations, in particular, Felicity & Sara from ‘Champagne for Breakfast’ Lingerie based on Chevron for providing a bucket load of new bras.

‘Support the Girls’ is always looking for donations, so if you missed dropping your items off to HiRUM, you still have the opportunity to contribute.

Bra Gifting events support the girls

Bra Gifting events support the girls

Bra Gifting events support the girls
Charlotte Brennan | March 19, 2021

Local Charity Support the Girls Australia (STGA) provides homeless and low-income women with bras and feminine products at their monthly Bra Gifting events at Southport Community Centre.

The service with a smile attitude at Support the Girls Australia’s Bra Gifting event created a safe and friendly environment.

Attendees to the event are women and girls marginalised by their current situations, which include living on a low income, being affected by domestic violence or abuse, and being homeless.

The women hear about the event through friends, social media, and via other support services, and can reserve a place at the event through Eventbrite.com.

The monthly event can see up to 100 women be professionally fitted and supplied with bras.

Attendees also receive new underwear, toiletry packs, haircuts, and other pampering services, plus morning tea.
STGA has teamed up with BreastScreen Queensland and NSW BreastScreen so event guests are also able to book free mammograms on the day.

The charity’s CEO and founder Jane Holmes said the bras themselves were important, but said the event also allow a foundation for providing deeper support.
Ms Holmes said event attendees came together in a comfortable and safe space where they were given the opportunity to connect and receive face-to-face support.

❝You actually need to mentor people, so that is what our purpose is,” she said.
“The bras and the sanitary products, that is the connecting tool, but it is more than that.❞

Founded in 2016, STGA aims to help women in need achieve overall wellbeing through dignity, hygiene and health.
According to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, more than 1700 people are believed to be homeless on the Gold Coast, 220 of which are sleeping rough.

Of this figure, around half are believed to be women, which is slightly higher than the national average.

Up to 100 gift bags containing bras, sanitary products, and underwear are given to women on low or no income at the Bra Gifting events.

Ms Holmes said she built the charity from a “place of understanding” based on her own confronting experiences as well as a 10-year career in crisis counselling with the New Zealand Police Force.

Ms Holmes’ husband committed suicide years ago, leaving her a single mother of three.

She said in in January 2016 she was approached while shopping at the Gold Coast by a 13-year-old girl who asked her for sanitary products.

After buying the young teen some tampons and lunch, Ms Holmes discovered the girl was homeless and was living under a bridge with some older women.

The girl took her to the bridge, where she says she met an elderly homeless woman who had no bra and who had resultant friction wounds.

Ms Holmes told her she would find her a support service that did bras, but discovered no such service existed.

❝So that was the birth of Support the Girls; to empower women with bras, because [the support services] I spoke to, they [had] never thought about,❞ she said.

Ms Holmes said the average woman had between 10 and 15 bras in her lingerie draw, but only really wore a select few.

❝How about if you could give one of those to someone who needs it?❞  she said.

❝It resonates; we all take it for granted.❞

Ms Holmes estimates that at least 35 to 40 of the 100 women that come to the event each month have a background of domestic violence.

Photo: Charlotte Brennan

2018 ISTG Bravo Award Winner Jane Holmes

2018 ISTG Bravo Award Winner Jane Holmes

2018 ISTG Bravo Award Winner Jane Holmes
Parker Sanchez | 28/08/2020

I Support The Girls (ISTG) is proud to announce the winner of the 2018 BRAvo Award: Jane Holmes, CEO and Affiliate Director of I Support The Girls Australia! Jane has received the award for her dedication to empowering women and supporting thousands of girls and women by helping them maintain their dignity.

❝Jane’s been involved with ISTG since nearly the beginning. She has taken Dana’s idea and implemented our model seamlessly throughout all of Australia,” says Rachael Heger, ISTG’s Director of Affiliates. “Her efforts have resulted in numerous sponsorships and opportunities for the ISTG-Australia team, culminating with their first gala this past summer. Jane’s tireless efforts throughout Australia are an inspiration for our entire staff.❞

Meet Jane

I was born in South Africa and adopted by parents originally from New Zealand. In 1993, I left South Africa for New Zealand with my husband and two children. At the end of 2002, we moved to Australia with our then three children. I lost my husband to suicide at the young age of 39 in February 2005.

After this tragedy, I became part of a relatively new organization called Victim Support, a support service linked with the New Zealand Police and created to support victims at the front line of an event. Victim Support Counsellors would often arrive at a scene before the police and we would triage the victims and families and then assist them with connecting to support services. I was actively involved in writing the strategies and policies. My own experience in trauma drove me to want to help others.

I’ve always been actively involved in community volunteering. This value was instilled in me by my father who was an incredible philanthropist and believed in always helping the disenfranchised person. I’ve researched and written articles on PTSD in the military, an issue close to my heart because of my husband’s military background. I lecture on the topic and also facilitate face to face suicide support for those family members left behind.

My career background was always in textiles, and I had my own textile business in South Africa. After the loss of my husband I had to find a new career to support my family. I used my background in both textiles and swimming to get involved in the swimwear and race-suit industry. I did this for 12 years prior to stepping away to build I Support The Girls Australia full time.

How did you first find out about the work done by ISTG?

In February 2016, I met a young girl in a shopping mall who approached me and asked me for sanitary items. I of course took care of her needs. Over lunch, I discovered she was under the care of two elderly homeless women. I asked her to take me to meet them, and got to know Lily, one of her caretakers who is a larger than life lady with an even larger bust! Noticing she wasn’t wearing a bra, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could cope in 110F weather without one. Lily told me she couldn’t afford one and hadn’t had a bra in four years. I suggested she go and see a support service like Salvation Army, but she told me none of them kept bras and certainly not in her size.

This was when I started the journey to find a support service – I could not find any charity or group in Australia that actually facilitated the provision of bras. Through the magic of Facebook shares, I found Dana and wrote to her about starting a chapter in Australia.

What is your job at ISTG?

I am the Founder and CEO of I Support The Girls Australia.

What is the most satisfying part of your work at ISTG?

Empowering a woman with dignity and ensuring they have professional fittings, support and genuine face-to-face guidance.

How has that empowerment work affected a beneficiary of ISTG Australia?

There have been many stories that stick with me, but the one that stands out the most would be Kat. I met her in 2017 at a Homeless Connect event, and at the time she was suicidal and reaching out for help. We fitted her with a bra and the difference in her posture and poise was immediate and incredible. She emerged from the changing room feeling so supported, in more ways than one. From there she was mentored on a one-on-one basis for over a year. She found a job as a baker within a few months of us fitting her. Earlier this year, through her hard work and discipline, Kat purchased her own home so she will never be homeless again.

What is the biggest challenge you face locally with your work for ISTG?

As with so many non-profits, we struggle with financial resources! We have grown exponentially and with that has come higher operating costs. Our service are in great demand and we move our Bra Gifting Days to different locations to ensure a greater volume of women can attend from varied geographical areas.

What’s the most important fact people don’t know about homelessness in Australia?

How many different types of people that are homeless, and the causes that lead to homelessness. The image of homelessness is stigmatized – if you see any article in a magazine or newspaper it will always be some person sleeping in a gutter, looking completely unkempt. However, we rarely see this in the women we serve. We have women that you would not even imagine are homeless. We currently support a working teacher who lives in her car. She is marking exam papers via flashlight. This is the new face of homelessness.

What have you learned about homelessness since starting to work at ISTG?

That women are far less likely than men to come forward about their plight. The rate of homeless women globally is increasing at an alarming rate. There needs to be far greater awareness of what causes homelessness and education around it so people can be more understanding and also take preventative measures for themselves.

What does the word “charity” mean to you?

Charity to me is giving your time, advice, support and items freely and voluntarily with no strings attached. Giving is a choice to help.

Tell us more about the event recently held in Australia.

In August of this year, we hosted our first Inaugural Charity Gala event at the Palazzo Versace Hotel. The hotel had selected us in April as their charity of choice due to our authentic work and the integrity of the charity. They loved that we were supporting women face to face and making an impact with no funding but passion and the desire to see change. They offered us their ballroom and waived the fees. The purpose of the Gala was to raise funds for a much needed mobile support vehicle. We want to be able to do a lot more street support work and need a vehicle that is ideal to use as both a mobile support room and as a means to transport all the bras and products we carry to events. The Gala managed to raise $13,000, which is a start towards our goals.

Jane Holmes (L) receives the 2018 BRAvo Award from I Support The Girls founder, Dana Marlowe