Oct. 12, 2018
Your bras are there for you when you need them. They help you feel confident in your LBD, support you through every yoga pose, and keep you comfortable during long workdays. But when those bras have outlived their usefulness for you, pass on the favor by donating them to women in need.
Bras are more than just an everyday essential; they also provide women with dignity and protection. You know the feeling when you realize you forgot to pack bras for your trip. Though it may seem like a temporary inconvenience to us, a significant number of women are without bras on a daily basis.
We’ve donated over 75,000 bras in 2018 alone, so we know firsthand what a difference this gift can make. Want to join us in supporting fellow women but unsure where to donate used bras? There may be an organization that accepts gently worn bras right in your neighborhood. (Just be sure to wash them and ensure they aren’t falling apart before sending them off to their new owners.)
Added bonus? Many bra donation services will even send you a tax deduction receipt. Talk about a win-win. Read below to see where to donate bras — and what to do with old underwear!
1. I Support the Girls
I Support the Girls is a ThirdLove partner who collects and distributes new and gently worn bras and menstrual hygiene products around the world. The non-profit sends its donations to women and girls in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, refugee settlement homes, foster care agencies, LGBTQ agencies, homes for pregnant teens, and more.
With 48 North American affiliates and four worldwide (Australia, Canada, Philippines, and Pakistan), I Support the Girls has helped over 180,000 women in the last three years. All new and used bras in good condition are accepted either at one of their donation sites or via mail.
2. Free the Girls
Free the Girls has a slogan: When you donate a bra, you give someone a job. The organization works with services all around the world that rescue women and girls from sex trafficking, who can then start their own businesses selling donated bras. It’s a job that they can do while caring for their families and attending school, and one that allows them to be surrounded by other women.
Free the Girls accepts new and gently used bras of all sizes, styles, and types. They have relationships with dozens of businesses and churches around the U.S. that serve as drop-off points. If there isn’t one near you, you can also mail your bras directly to the organization. You can even send a note to the girls who receive the bras along with your donation.
3. The Bra Recyclers
If you’re interested in going green, don’t overlook your underwear drawer. A mere 15 percent of textiles are recycled, while 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills. The Bra Recyclers are dedicated to changing those stats, one bra at a time.
This organization sends usable bras to its charity partners, who then distribute them to women in need. When you donate old bras that are no longer usable, the organization recycles them, keeping them out of landfills and benefiting the environment. According to the Bureau of International Recycling, recycling just over two pounds of textiles can save 1,600 gallons of water and eliminate eight pounds of CO2 emissions.
Use the drop-off location finder on the Bra Recyclers site to find the closest store that accepts their donations. And if your closest location isn’t close enough, you can send your donation through the mail.
4. Donate Your Bra
Donate Your Bra is a group that collects used bras and distributes them to breast cancer support groups, shelters and other charities that support women. The group is small but mighty: it’s run entirely by unpaid volunteers, so you know that you’re supporting women who are dedicated to doing good.
Because they’re small, Donate Your Bra only accepts donation by mail.
5. Local Shelters
Want to be sure your used bras go to women in your community? Cut out the middle woman and bring them directly to women in need. Just one person can make a huge impact. One Maryland woman asked her friends and families to give her their used bras; within one year, she had distributed 20,000 bras to homeless women.
Contact local domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters to ask whether bra donations would be welcomed. You’ll likely hear a resounding “yes” from everyone. Women in these shelters often receive clothing donations, but few people think to donate bras.
Does Goodwill Take Bras?
Though donation guidelines vary by location, some may accept and sell clean, gently worn bras in their stores. Contact your local Goodwill to see if bras are an approved item are on their list.
And don’t stop at your own bedroom door! If you’re willing to donate your bras, chances are good that your relatives and friends would be willing to do the same. Post a message on social media asking for donations, then handle the collection and drop-off at a local shelter. Your old unmentionables could make a huge impact.
Can You Donate Underwear?
While used underwear donations are widely unaccepted (understandably), they don’t have to go to complete waste. Here are a couple options to consider:
- 100% cotton underwear is compostable! Simply cut off the elastic band and toss it in the compost bin.
- USAgain dropboxes take both used underwear and bras. Any items that aren’t in wearable condition are recycled into insulation material, wiping rags, and furniture padding.
With additional reporting by Emily Piskulick