The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Emerging Influential of the Year discusses her organization’s mission to supply in-need women and girls with bras, underwear and hygiene products.
How and why did you start Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters?
I had read an article in the [Huffington] Post. It was about women in different shelters and how a lot of people are giving donations of shampoo and deodorant, suits. People have good intentions, obviously, but they weren’t thinking about what women exclusively need. These items—feminine hygiene products, definitely new bras and underwear—were not being donated. [The article] was about these two women in New Jersey who specifically were trying to collect these items for women. I wanted to help my community here in the area, so I said to my friends, let’s just do a collection drive here at my house.
Describe the organization’s accomplishments to date.
About 3,500 women and girls have been served since January 2015. In 2 ½ years, we have distributed 2,000 brand-new bras (average price $25), 12,000 pairs of underwear (average price $5) and 10,000 unopened packs of pads/tampons (average price $9) to the women and girls in our shelter program. In the last five months, we have delivered about 600 pads to girls in our Northern Virginia school program, funded partially by a one-time, one-year grant for 2017 from the Cloudbreak Foundation.
What drew you to a career in service?
It was just my experience living in D.C. that changed me. I went to American [University], which is a liberal school. My degree is in something called CLEG, which is communications, law, economics and government, and the idea was to do tons of internships in D.C. and get out there. And so I just became active in the community.
In addition to undergarments and feminine hygiene products, what are women and girls seeking most in these shelters?
That’s what we were told are in the most need. We need more manpower because we can’t get this stuff out fast enough. I need people to go shopping, and I need people to bring this stuff over and find more clients. Each day, slowly, people hear about us through word of mouth and contact us.