Last month, The Huffington Post published an article calling attention to an oft-forgotten need experienced by homeless women. Although most of them know how to get a meal or find access to shelter, challenges related to personal hygiene are harder to overcome.
Many shelters have reported that people don't often donate feminine napkins or tampons, mostly because they are pricey or just because people don't think about it. Bras and panties are also at the top of the list of needs for many homeless women.
A national organization called Distributing Dignity exists to provide women with these basic needs, and organizers recently hosted a "Mardi Bra" party to raise donations for the cause. This month, Chattanooga's Salvation Army is hosting a Mardi Bra to benefit the local female homeless population.
The party will be held on Mardi Gras, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m. at the ReCreate Café, which is at 800 McCallie Ave.
Mardi Bra will distribute bras, panties and feminine hygiene products to attendees. As of Feb. 12, 30 homeless women had RSVP'd to the event. Donations are needed to help serve the attendees.
"We are still collecting items for the party," Maj. Teresa Newsome, associate area commander of the greater Chattanooga area, said in a prepared statement. "Even after the Mardi Bra party, we will continue to collect these items since they are needed year-round."
Men run most shelters and the majority of shelter guests are men, local Salvation Army officials said. Feminine hygiene needs are often forgotten about.
Churches, businesses or schools interested in doing a donation drive can contact Jennifer Fisher at 423-756-1023. Donations can be dropped off at 822 McCallie Ave. Monetary donations can be made here.