New BRAWS Partnership Aids Local Women Who Need It Most
As it was Women’s Health Month, May was a great time to launch UPIC’s partnership with an organization that collects sanitary products, bras, and underwear and delivers them to women and teens in need.
UPIC employees in Norfolk and Chantilly, Va. collected items for Virginia-based BRAWS (Brings Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters) and visited a local shelter to help distribute them.
When UPIC learned about BRAWS’ mission and that some women in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties were missing school, interviews, and other appointments because they did not have supplies, we knew immediately the organization aligns with our mission of Meaningful Engagement in Care and the support of women.
“Our employees were really thoughtful about the items they donated, understanding that functioning to our full potential as women requires confidence,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Juli Briskman. “It’s hard to feel confident when using products that are not comfortable or wearing undergarments that don’t fit correctly.”
Four UPIC volunteers met BRAWS organizers at the Loudoun Emergency Homeless Shelter on May 23 to find everything pre-organized into size bins. And bags had been compiled for women that had already signed up for the event and given their sizes.
Unfortunately for us, many of the women were working. But we were glad to hear they were at work and would be able to pick up their “orders” when they got back to the shelter. The women we did meet were very thankful for the items, tried some on, and left with several bags of goodies.
Many of the female residents and their families have been recently displaced by the housing crisis. And Loudoun County, which has the highest U.S. median income, has seen a surge in homelessness for singles and families, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
During Hard Times, Feminine Care Drops in Priority
Basic necessities such as a well-fitting bra or sanitary products are not easy to come by for much of the population. Poverty rates are higher for U.S. women than men. And over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty, are women, according to the Center for American Progress. In combination with the prevailing wage gap and Pink Taxes, undergarments and feminine products can quickly drop to the bottom of any priority list.
BRAWS has stepped in to fill this gap, working alongside shelters, such as New Hope Housing, Thrive DC, and Doorways for Women and Families (among many others). BRAWS operates several drop-off sites and has a pickup service by appointment. To learn more, visit the website.
Author Jessica Lay is UPIC’s Program Lead for UPICares, the organization’s philanthropic initiative. She spends half of her time assisting patients through UPIC’s contact center and recently completed a degree in Aging Services Management. Follow us @UPICHealth.