GFWC Murfreesboro Woman's Club collected 22 bras, 80 pairs of panties and a check for $25. CAT MURPHY
Across the board, organizations serving those who are homeless struggle to keep up with the need for new knickers, something folks rarely donate.
"People that are experiencing homelessness have the exact same needs as people who aren't experiencing homeless," said Jason Bennett, director of Murfreesboro Cold Patrol. "Some of the most needed, least donated items are socks and underwear."
So when members of the still-forming Murfreesboro branch of the General Federation of Women's Clubs asked Bennett about a service project, he knew exactly what items to request.
"Everyone deserves a fresh change," said Sheryl Miller, GFWC's treasurer.
The club used their recruitment mixer, a pool party, as a collection opportunity.
"New socks and underwear are like getting gold," said Amber Hampton, Cold Patrol's director of social services. "Nobody wants to wear somebody's used underwear."
Bennett and Hampton left the pool party with 22 bras, 80 pairs of panties and a check for $25 according to Cathy Watts, club president.
Folks can still drop donations of women's unmentionables at the downtown Murfreesboro Firestone location until Aug. 14, or bring them to the first official meeting that evening at Linebaugh Library.
"We've run into a lot of women who were looking for a place to serve their community without it being a church," said Watts.
"Or clique-ish," interjected Miller.
"Or a political group," finished Watts. "We're just women."
The two hope their group will provide that opportunity, starting with skivvies.
The demand for drawers isn't unique to Murfreesboro Cold Patrol.
"I was down in the clothes closet," said Journey Home volunteer and board member Liz Huber, "and I noticed there wasn't any underwear."
She rallied her congregation and two others, and Undie Sunday was born -- because "nothing says you care like underwear."
On July 23 St. Paul's Episcopal, along with Holy Cross Episcopal and First United Methodist will collect more than checks in their Sunday offering. The Journey Home clothes closet would benefit specifically from new ankle socks, new underwear of all sizes and new or lightly used bras.
"I'd like for it to be an annual thing," said Huber, who hopes the event will grow to include more churches. She wants to meet the need and raise awareness about what it means to be homeless.
"It humanizes them," said Huber. "They're real people, too. Everybody needs underwear. Everybody needs a pair of socks."
She says it's not only about meeting physical needs, but providing dignity.
"People tend to not even see them in the street or look them in the eye," said Huber. "They're just like us."
How to donate
Drop off new women's undergarments of all sizes at the College Street Firestone until Aug. 14, or bring them to the Aug. 14 meeting of GFWC at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of Linebaugh Library.
Drop off new men's and women's socks and underwear, and new or lightly used bras at the church offices of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Holy Cross Episcopal Church or First United Methodist Church until July 22, or bring them to services July 23.