What Happens When You Donate a Bra to Free The Girls?

Ever wonder what happens to the thousands of bras we collect throughout the year? Well today, we have our lovely Inventory Manager, Pam sharing a post about this interesting process! 

Free The Girls collects.

In the past 12 months, we’ve collected about 183,000 bras! If you’ve donated a bra to Free The Girls that bra has passed through our bra collection site in Chesterton, Indiana (population
13,403). The collection site is inside of Duneland Community Church, which generously donates space to Free The Girls for the storage and processing of the bras. DCC’s senior pastor, Greg Arthur is the president of the board of Free The Girls. We receive about 3,500 bras every week, so that’s a lot of daily deliveries by the postal service, UPS, and Fed Ex. We also have a large drop box outside the building, so if you live locally or happen to be passing through the area, you can drop off your bras in person. If you contact us ahead of time we’d love to meet you and give you a tour!

Free The Girls parties.

All the bra boxes, envelopes, and bags are opened, sorted, and boxed for shipping during an event we call a “packing party.” Human trafficking is a heavy subject so we decided to call the time when we sort the bras a “packing party” to help bring some fun to what we do. Last year we had 12 packing parties to sort and pack those 183,000 bras. Except for me (Inventory Manager, Pam) we are entirely dependent on volunteers to do the work. A typical packing party happens once every four to six weeks and has 40-60 volunteers. A core group of about 25 help at nearly every packing party and the rest are men, women, and children who come from around the community, local churches, and groups. We’ve had volunteers from high school golf and soccer teams, Scouts, National Honor societies, Key clubs, Bible study groups, and Soroptimists, Every packing party features snacks and refreshments. Food makes volunteers happy :) and builds community as we spend time together.

Free The Girls likes bras and bucks.

We get super excited when we find a box that contains both bras and bucks. If you hear a cheer go up during a packing party, it’s because we’ve found one of those boxes! Bras and bucks are the lifeline to what we are doing to help trafficking survivors and we appreciate all our donors. Monetary donations enclosed in bra boxes will be deposited after the packing party when the box is opened and acknowledged within two weeks. Please remember to provide your email address so we can thank you via e-mail and put more bucks towards our programs rather than on postage costs.

Free The Girls says “thank you!”

When you send us bras we keep track! We cut the label off every box or save the insert inside. Whether via e-mail, social media shout-out, or snail mail, we love to say Thank You! Please help us out by using our online donation form so we know how to thank you! If you happen to mail your bras from a 3rd party shipping location please enclose a note in your box with your own return mailing address/ e-mail address. We also love to highlight our bra drop-off locations and donors on our social media pages. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag us at #freethegirls <3 

Free The Girls recycles.

Nothing is ever thrown away. We sell poor-quality bras to a recycler for pennies on the pound. We recycle all the cardboard boxes we receive. And the miscellaneous non-bra items (like
panties) that we receive are donated locally.

Free The Girls shares.

Last year I took bras that we were not able to use to two women's prisons in Illinois and Indiana, donated maternity bras to a pregnancy assistance shelter, and made several trips donating bras to a day program serving homeless and at risk women and kids.

Free The Girls ships.

We ship to each of our locations once a year. In the past 12 months we’ve shipped a total of 873 boxes: 140 to El Salvador (en route right now) 48 to Uganda, and 685 to Mozambique! Overseas shipping is one of our largest budget items. In addition to the actual transportation costs we purchase boxes, tape, labels, pallets, and shrink-wrap. We even have our own specially designed Free The Girls logo shipping boxes. Our boxes are made using waterproof adhesive to withstand the demands of overseas shipping and are built to have a high edge crush test rating so they don’t collapse en route. The boxes even have handholds to make it easier for them to be carried by the women! Every time we send a shipment overseas we let you, our friends and supporters, be part of the process by donating to an Export Freedom campaign. Export Freedom donors sponsor a box of bras and receive a series of special emails (with photos not seen by the general public) showing the progress of their box as it travels from Chesterton, Indiana into the hands of a trafficking survivor. Export Freedom campaigns happen just a few times per year, right now
you can still participate in Export Freedom El Salvador!
 

Free The Girls would love your help.

We always need volunteers to help at packing parties. If you’d like to volunteer at a packing party or bring a group, please contact me at pam@freethegirls.org

Free The Girls thanks YOU! 

Thank you for following along and using your voice, your time, your creativity to play your part as an Everyday Abolitionist! 

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to get some peeks at our warehouse and live bra packing parties! Please share this post with anyone you think might be interested!

Here's to more Freedom!