Photos courtesy of I Support the Girls on Facebook.EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville chapter of “I Support the Girls” has partnered with an SIUE class to sponsor a fundraiser for bras, underwear and period products.

Dr. Diane Owino’s communication class created the fundraiser to assist the I Support the Girls (ISTG) organization. On March 29, 2024, they will also host a “Build-a-Bra” event at the Caseyville Township Administration Building to decorate bras for the organization. Dr. Alicia Alexander, the affiliate director for ISTG Edwardsville, explained that the organization provides help to people in the region who need these products and undergarments.

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“When people learn about it, they really recognize that there is a need,” she explained. “We take gently used and new bras, and people will say, ‘Who wants a used bra?’ Well, people who don’t own a bra.”

Alexander pointed out that most people will change bra sizes multiple times throughout their lives and may not always have the funds to replace their bras. Additionally, some people have to decide between period products and basic needs like food and shelter, so they go without these products.

ISTG aims to address this need by providing bras and period products. They also supply local schools, shelters and the Edwardsville YMCA with period products so no one has to go without. Alexander said it can be emotional for the people who receive the bras and supplies.

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“During my time, I’ve been able to fit a lot of women with bras, and some of these women come and their bras are two or three sizes too small,” she said. “They’ve got safety pins on them. I’ve seen people with knots in the straps just so they can hold them together. And then when you give them the new-for-them bra or a brand new bra, they feel so much better. They smile, they hug you, it’s like they feel younger, they feel more beautiful, they feel attractive and fit and all of those things because they have something that’s more comfortable and looks good under their clothes. So yeah, it really makes a huge difference.”

Allison Szostak, who helped to organize the SIUE fundraiser for ISTG, added that she is eager to help with the nonprofit. She set up an Amazon wishlist that will go directly to the Edwardsville chapter of ISTG, and she hopes to see many people at the Build-a-Bra event on March 24, which will help people across the Metro East region.

“We’re just trying to help people in need,” Szostak said. “Period poverty is a widespread issue right now and always has been.”

You can find out more about I Support the Girls Edwardsville at their official Facebook page or by visiting ISupportTheGirls.org. The SIUE class will continue taking donations for ISTG throughout the semester; you can donate online.

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