Brall is how my little cousin used to pronounce the word "bra." As in "I'm wearing a new pink brall!" And that girl loved her bras. She started wearing one in second grade. Not that she needed it--just because she thought wearing bralls was cool.
David and I have been doing some January cleaning/organizing around here and one of the bins under our bed is labeled "jeans, sweaters, bras." I've gained and lost a lot of weight in the past two years (Like 40 pounds. Twice. Which is 80 pounds.) and a not-insignificant portion of that weight has been carried in my bra (weight in that particular location is STILL fluctuating rather wildly--breastfeeding be crazy).
This means that I have several bras that used to fit that will... maybe fit again? Someday? Or maybe not? Ever?
Honestly, considering the state of my boobs post-breast feeding is sort of depressing, so I decided to deal with it later. I snapped the lid back on the bin and slid it under the bed.
But the universe had other plans for my bralls! Just a few days later, I read a blog post by my friend Emily about an organization that is actually collected gently used bras for girls in Ethiopia. It's called the Studio Samuel Foundation and they work with orphaned girls in Addis Ababa to help them break the cycle of poverty.
It's a proven fact that donating to a good cause can give you a happiness boost, but it's also true that we generally like to do so in a tangible way--it's why Newtown, Connecticut has been overrun with teddy bears. People want to reach out to helps those who are in need, but giving money sometimes feels less satisfying than giving something. I try to make it a point to contribute financially to causes and organizations that we care about (the Humane Society, American Cancer Society, and others), but knowing that I already own something that would be of greater value to someone else is a different kind of feeling, you know?
Anyway, the point of this is that the stars seemed to align so that the very thing that I have a surplus of (gently used bras) is THE PRECISE THING that the Studio Samuel Foundation needs.
They are seeking 260 new or gently used bras for teenage girls at the Kechene orphanage in Addis Ababa. My friend Emily has visited this orphanage when she was in Ethiopia in the process of adopting her son. I cried when I read her blog post about that experience.
The girls at this orphanage are too old to be adopted and as they age out of the orphanage they face an uncertain future. The Studio Samuel Foundation helps to prepare them with life skills and to provide them with self esteem.
And if you've ever worn a bra that fits just exactly right, you KNOW what it can do for your self esteem.
Problems like poverty and AIDS and orphans can seem so overwhelming that sometimes I just want to shut them out and pretend that everything is fine. Because how could I possibly ever do enough? And how can you even start when the problems are just so huge?
But here's something simple that I did (going to the post office tomorrow, actually). And I know that it will make a tangible difference to one girl (or a few, in my case, as I seem to have far more bras than any one person needs).
The foundation needs to receive all the bras by February 1st to send them on to Ethiopia, so you don't have a lot of time, but you do have ENOUGH time to organize your dresser drawers and find a bra or two you don't need and stick them in a manila envelope and mail them to New York.
Here's the link to information about the program, and the address to mail your bras.