On any random day, I may come home to find a bag of bras on my doorstep, these bras will immediately go into the little washroom that I’ve dubbed “The Bra Closet”. Am I obsessed with bras? A bra hoarder? Not really. What I am is an “Everyday Abolitionist” and the bras that I collect will soon be sent to Free the Girls, an organization that fights Human-Trafficking.
How does a bra fight Human-Trafficking? The bras are sent overseas to places like Mozambique which has a thriving second-hand clothing market. Women who had been formerly sex-trafficked are given their first packet of bras for free. They sell them and are able to buy the next packets at reduced prices, creating a successful, sustainable business. The women in the program are becoming well-respected members of their communities.
It started with a bag of 45 bras that I hand-delivered to the Free the Girls distribution center in Indiana after I’d collected Bras during a conference in the Midwest. Stopping by the facility gave me a personal connection to the project and I met the principals and saw their dedication and desire to help people in desperate situations
I decided to hold an annual Bra Drive. I made up a little flyer with my real estate contact information on it, requested bras and handed it out in my neighborhood. I picked up some of the bras personally and others were dropped off by caring neighbors on my front porch.
Over the past years, I have mailed thousands of bras to Free the Girls. When I discovered the social network, Next Door, the bra collection soared during my annual drives. Women from all over the city were dropping off bras during my drives. At the end of last year, after my fall drive, I shipped two large trash bags full of bras weighing over 80 pounds in total.
But several people mentioned that they “missed” the bra drive collection window. Of course, I’ll still accept bras. I even started incorporating the Bra drive into my Open Houses. While I don’t collect many at the open houses, it’s a great talking point. “What? Bras?” Fortunately, some people prefer to trust their home sale with a person who cares about other people. I don’t mind if I am known as the “Bra Lady”. That’s a badge of honor.
“Bra Fever” is catching. I inspired my real estate coach to lead a bra drive at her office last year. But, forget the drive, I’ve become an unofficial drop-off location for FTG and at least once a week, bras show up on my porch in Long Beach. The closet is bulging! Time for another shipment before they become too heavy to carry again.
If you have bras that are no longer being worn stuffed in the back of a drawer, please, consider dropping them off to me in Long Beach or sending them off to Free the Girls where they will do some good in the world. Read more about it at Freethegirls.org.