Bras, Tampons And Dignity: A Grassroots Effort To Give Homeless Women More Support

While people regularly give coats and outgrown shoes to those in need, homeless shelters—and the women who live there—are often without essentials like bras and feminine hygiene products.

By Courtney CollinsFebruary 28, 2017 9:30 am, ,

From KERA News

A Place To Call Home

Thirty women and about 60 kids call Dallas’ Center of Hope shelter home. Annie Moore is one of them. She’d been staying with family, until her mom said there just wasn’t enough room anymore for her and her four little ones.

“Two days before I came here I was going around everywhere looking for a shelter,” says Moore. “It’s kind of hard not knowing where I’m going to go sleep tonight, where I’m going to feed my kids.”

She’s been living at Center of Hope since September. She helps clean the shelter, goes to bible study, learns job skills and enjoys a little peace with her kids—all four are under the age of 7.

Moore hopes to be in her own apartment and working toward nursing school by summer. And while she’s beyond grateful for the shelter—she craves independence.

“You wake up, you notice you’re here and it’s hard to take in, a lot of the times,” she says. “But you make it through.”

Going Without

Moore admits, even before moving into the shelter, even when she was working at Walmart, she struggled to make ends meet. She couldn’t afford basic personal items; things like a new bra, even tampons.

“That would be one of the last things, bras and hygiene stuff. I would be trying to give my kids something to eat or something,” says Moore.

That’s the way a lot of moms think, sacrificing basic personal needs for the sake of their kids. The math gets even tougher when you’re homeless. That’s where Dana Marlowe comes in.

“We have donated over 85,000 bras and over 400,000 menstrual hygiene products,” she says.

While that seems like a lot, Marlowe says she’s only been at it for 18 months, and the whole thing started by accident. While out shopping for new bras, she asked the saleswoman what to do with her old ones.

“And she said ‘homeless women need bras.’ And I was like oh my God, I’ve been living under a rock,” Marlowe says. “How did I not know this?”

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