40+ Charities That Provide Bras, Sanitary Products, & Other Necessities to Homeless & Low-Income Women
For folks who have stable housing and economic security, purchasing menstrual products and undergarments is a routine fact of life, if a sometimes expensive and frustrating one. In fact, The Huffington Post estimated that people who menstruate may spend over $18,000 on menstrual supplies alone during the course of their lifetime. But, for low-income, homeless, and economically disadvantaged people who menstruate, the high price of affording these necessary items can take a devastating toll.
According to research from the National Women’s Law Center, one in eight women in the US lived in poverty in 2016, with women of color, single mothers, and women over 65 experiencing disproportionate rates of economic insecurity. It’s also important to note that menstruation impacts non-binary and transgender people who, in the US, experience homelessness at more than twice the rate of their cisgender counterparts. For these people, affording bras and menstrual products can be a massive burden.
In the US, government benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) don’t cover pads and tampons. To make matters worse, 37 states that exempt sales taxes on items for medical use such as ChapStick and dandruff shampoo don’t extend those exemptions to menstrual hygiene products, an injustice that many activists refer to as the “tampon tax.”
For menstruators who are economically disadvantaged, the tampon tax is more than a simple inconvenience: it can keep them from accessing the items they need to attend work and school and can cause serious health problems. And, unfortunately, because so many people are unaware of this issue, homeless shelters, food pantries, and other organizations that support low-income and homeless folks often struggle to stock these items.
The good news is that many feminist activists have recognized this injustice in recent years and have developed nonprofit and charitable endeavors to ensure that these crucial supplies get to the people who desperately need them worldwide. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate list of 40+ organizations that provide bras, sanitary products, and other necessities to people in need. This list can help you find out where to donate feminine products and where to donate bras near you.
Let’s take a look at these awesome projects!
Charities that donate bras to women in need
If you’ve got a new or gently-used bra kicking around that you’re not wearing, send it along to one of these amazing organizations:
- Be A Dear, Donate A Brassiere. This San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit has donated over 26,000 bras to homeless and at-risk people since starting operations in 2009. In addition to giving recycled bras to local women’s organizations throughout the Bay Area, they accept monetary donations to purchase bras for folks who couldn’t find a fit among the donated bras. If you’re in the Bay Area, check out their OctoBRAFest event coming up this month.
- BOGO Bras. The BOGO in this company name stands for Buy One, Give One. True to their name, for every bra purchased from them, they’ll donate one to a person who has survived sex trafficking to help them find a job or start a business selling bras in their community. You can also reuse the box your bra ships in to send back gently used or unworn bras that they’ll also donate.
- Bras For The Cause. Serving people in Iowa, Bras For The Cause is a slightly different model than most of the other organizations we’ve listed here. They accept decorated bras to be auctioned off and displayed at their Gala events. All donations and proceeds go towards providing breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured women throughout Iowa. If you’ve got a creative flair, send them a decorated bra here.
- Breast Oasis. Breast Oasis currently accepts new and lightly used bras for donation during October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. They have drop-off centers at many locations throughout the US, and they also accept financial donations online.
- Brem Foundation. The Brem Foundation was started by Dr. Rachel Brem to raise awareness about and encourage early screenings for breast cancer. Through the Foundation’s Re-Bra program, folks who’ve undergone breast surgery can donate their pre-surgery bras to low-income people in need. You can donate your bras via mail or drop them off at one of their D.C.-area locations.
- Bringing Resources To Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS). Based in Virginia, BRAWS accepts brand new bras with the tags still on to distribute to women’s shelters. You can mail in your items, purchase bras from their Amazon wishlist to donate, host a donation event, or bring your donations to one of their collection sites. They also host an annual OctoBRAfest event to raise awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness month, a Mardi Gras event, and an annual fun run.
- Dianne’s Mastectomy. This company donates gently-used and new breast prostheses, post-mastectomy bras, post-surgical camisoles, wigs and head scarves, and compression and lymphedema products to people in developing countries who’ve had cancer-related breast surgery. To make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dignity Matters. Dignity Matters is a nonprofit based in Framingham, MA that donates bras and underwear to homeless adults and children around the Boston metro area. They have many different ways to get involved, including running your own bra drive, hosting a bra donation party, or volunteering with them directly. Find a drop-off location near you here.
- Distributing Dignity. Distributing Dignity donates new bras to kids aging out of foster care, people who’ve experienced domestic violence, homeless veterans and teens, and people displaced by disasters. You can bring items to one of their drop-off locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, or donate money directly to them on their website.
- Donate Your Bra. This nonprofit donates bras and other items to people with breast cancer, especially those in difficult financial situations. You can ship your items directly to them by following the instructions here. All donations to Bras For A Cause are tax-deductible and come with an IRS tax receipt.
- Dress For Success. Dress For Success helps women achieve economic independence by providing professional attire and career development training to women worldwide. Although their focus is not specifically on bras, they will accept donations of new bras if they still have the tags on them. You can find your local donation center by clicking here.
- Forty Winks. This lingerie company accepts donations of gently worn bras which they’ll send out to organizations including The Bra Recyclers and Free The Girls. For every bra donated, they’ll also make a $1 donation to the nonprofit or organization they’re supporting that month.
- Free The Girls (FTG). FTG donates used bras to women in developing countries so they can start their own business selling them on the second-hand clothing market. Their objective is to empower women economically so they can be free from human and sex trafficking. Find ways to donate your used bras here.
- Girls Giving Girls A Lift. A project of Girls Helping Girls Period, you can donate your washed, gently worn bras to this organization. Check here for their mailing address.
- Goodwill. Goodwill accepts gently used clothing which they sell at their stores throughout the US. They do accept bras and while they aren’t donated directly to folks in need, profits from their sales go directly to providing job and career support for folks in need. Plus, shoppers can purchase donated bras at much lower prices than new items.
- I Support The Girls. A bra donation organization with drop-off locations across the US, I Support The Girls provides undergarments to people who are homeless, fleeing domestic violence, in transitional housing, or refugees. You can mail donations directly to Dana Marlowe, founder of the ISG, or find a drop-off location near you here.
- Journelle. Journelle is a luxury lingerie store based in NYC. They partner with Free The Girls to host an annual Bra Drive where you can donate your gently used bras and receive a coupon for 20% off a new item.
- Local shelters. Many local women’s and homeless shelters accept clothing donations, including bras and underwear. Check out this directory of women’s, domestic violence, transitional housing, and family shelters to find a location near you.
- Oxfam. For folks based in the UK, Oxfam accepts donations of new and gently used bras. All donations are sent to Frip Ethique, a social enterprise based in Senegal where predominantly women workers sort donations and sell them to local traders. You can donate items at your local Oxfam shop.
- Soma. Soma is a popular bra and underwear retailer that has collected and donated over 1.8 million used bras through their Soma Bra Donation program. They partner with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNDEV) and I Support the Girls (ISG) to provide bras to women who’ve experienced domestic violence and homelessness. To donate, simply bring your new or gently used bras to your local Soma store or make a direct financial donation to NNDEV or ISG on the Soma website.
- The Bra Recyclers. This organization is a for-profit textile recycling company that takes new and used bras as well as new underwear. You can mail in your items or find a drop-off location near you here. While the Bra Recyclers do not supply bras and underwear directly to people in need, they send recycled items and offer support to nonprofits that work with women who’ve experienced domestic violence, human trafficking, drug addiction, and breast cancer. All unuseable bras are recycled, reducing textile waste.
- The Undies Project. The Undies Project supplies bras and underwear to low-income folks in Lower Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY. They accept new or gently used bras as well as new underwear. You can drop off your donations at one of their locations or mail them in, host a donation event in your area, or purchase items off of their Amazon wishlist to donate.
- Uplift Project. Uplift collects bras in Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand for distribution to people in developing countries. You can check out their Donate Bras page to find out more about how to donate your used items. They also accept financial donations which are tax-deductible if you’re an Australian taxpayer.
- Vanity Fair Lingerie. This lingerie company offers an incredible program where you can not only buy one bra and get one free for yourself, but they’ll also donate one to Dress For Success with your purchase. So grab yourself some new bras and help them reach their goal of donating 50,000 bras.
Charities that donate pads, tampons, and other sanitary products to low-income women
Whether you’ve got a little extra money to contribute or some pads or tampons you don’t need collecting dust under your bathroom sink, these great organizations can put your donations in the hands of folks who need them:
- Alliance For Period Supplies. This group is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network that is funded primarily by U by Kotex. They connect with diaper banks and shelters throughout the US to get menstrual supplies into the hands of homeless and low-income people who can’t afford them. You can send them a one-time or monthly donation directly on their website. Folks are also encouraged run period supply drive events in their neighborhoods to collect items for people in need.
- Conscious Period. Conscious Period sells 100% organic cotton tampons that you can feel good about buying. Why? Well, for every box of tampons sold, they donate a box to a person in need. They’re currently on hiatus, but you can sign up for their mailing list to get updates on their next ventures.
- Cora. Cora is another great company with a cause. They sell monthly subscriptions of their 100% organic cotton tampons and pads, and for each one sold, they provide pads and health education to people with periods in India, Kenya, and the US. Check out their free trial program to get one month of tampons or pads for just the price of shipping.
- Days For Girls. Started in 2008, Days For Girls provides kits with hand-sewn, reusable, washable pads and menstrual health education to people across the globe. Through their enterprise program, they help folks in developing countries set up businesses to sell menstrual products and educate their communities about menstrual hygiene. You can join one of their many local chapters across the globe, sew kits on your own or with friends, or simply make a one-time or monthly donation.
- Dignity Matters. This Boston-area nonprofit donates menstrual products in addition to accepting bras. You can donate items to them by purchasing products directly from their Amazon wishlist or by buying products at your local store and either mailing them or bringing them to one of their drop-off locations.
- Girls Helping Girls Period. What started out as an idea for a single charitable party turned into a major nationwide movement for Girls Helping Girls Period. They supply people in need with a full year’s supply of menstrual products plus critical education about menstrual health. You can either donate items to them directly for them to put in their kits or make a $50 donation to supply one person with a year’s worth of products. Folks can also donate their time as local or college GHGP ambassadors.
- #HappyPeriod. Part social movement, part grassroots nonprofit, #HappyPeriod’s mission is to provide menstrual hygiene kits to people who need them, especially people who are low-income, homeless, veterans, LGBTQIA+, folks with disabilities, and teens. You can donate money, mail in menstrual products and unused underwear, or purchase items off their wishlist. They’ve got chapters in many major cities, and are looking for folks to start new ones!
- Helping Women Period. Based in Lansing, MI, Helping Women Period gives menstrual products to homeless and low-income women in the Lansing area. You can donate money, send in donations by mail, or bring in products to one of their many drop-off locations.
- I Support The Girls. In addition to accepting bra donations, I Support The Girls also takes and distributes menstrual hygiene products to women in need. They’ve donated nearly two million menstrual products in just two years and aim to donate that many in the next year alone. You can find a listing of their drop-off locations throughout the US here or donate money online via PayPal.
- Odeeva. Odeeva is another subscription-based menstrual product service where you can build your own custom monthly box of supplies. For each purchase made, they send a donation to Girls Helping Girls Period to help pay for menstrual products for folks in need. You can also get a 20% discount on your first order when you sign up for their mailing list!
- Pads4Girls. From the founders of LunaPads, this project provides reusable cloth pads to menstruators in developing countries. In their 15 years of service, they’ve provided more than 100,000 reusable pads to over 17,000 different people. They accept financial donations here through Tides Canada.
- PERIOD. This national nonprofit provides Period Packs to folks in need and advocates to eliminate excessive taxes on menstrual products at the state and federal level. For just $2, you can purchase a monthly supply of nine tampons and six pads that will be given to someone who lacks access to these items. In addition to donating money, you can provide support by joining one of their 150+ chapters throughout the US or by starting your own new chapter in your area.
- Ruby Cup. Ruby makes menstrual cups and has an awesome Buy One, Give One program where they’ll send a menstrual cup and educational information to a person in need. The great thing about menstrual cups is that they’re totally reusable can be used for up to 10 years, so you’ll be investing in a sustainable product for yourself and someone else! Get a 5% discount on your cup when you join their mailing list.
- Share The Dignity. For Australians, Share The Dignity is a great place to donate menstrual products, including cups, cloth pads, period underwear, and more. You can give them items during their April and August drives, or make a purchase at one of their partner businesses to donate. They also accept monetary donations to help provide a monthly supply or menstrual products to a person in need.
- Simply The Basics. Simply The Basics is a San Francisco-based charity that has opened the nation’s first Hygiene Bank, a donation-based bank of menstrual items and other hygiene products that helps supply homeless shelters and low-income folks with their basic needs. You can donate money to them, purchase items from their wishlist, or contact them directly to give them products.
- Tampon Tribe. Tampon Tribe is one more monthly subscription box that gives back. For every monthly supply of their 100% organic cotton, chemical-free, and hypoallergenic products you purchase, they supply a person in need with a one-day pack of menstrual supplies. They’re also working to employ formerly incarcerated folks, veterans, and people with intellectual disabilities as part of their mission. Get 15% off your first purchase when you sign up for their mailing list.
- The Cup. This nonprofit organization provides menstrual cups to people in Kenya and other developing countries while also offering empowering educational programming on gender roles, safer sex, pregnancy, human rights, and sexual violence to communities in these countries. You can help them reach more communities by donating here.
Hopefully the day when bras and menstrual products are truly accessible to everyone who needs them isn’t too far in our future. But, until that time comes, you can do your part to ensure greater equity for women, non-binary, and trans people who are in need of these items by making a contribution to the organizations listed here. Whether you donate money, supplies, or simply your time, you’ll be making a big impact.
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