Bra donation brings confidence, normalcy to abuse survivors in shelter

Retail stores partner with shelter to collect most needed items

SAN ANTONIO – It's a way to help women escaping abuse by offering something many have never thought of donating before. A campaign to collect bras is helping abuse survivors gain control and confidence.

A day of shopping for Barbara Deloach quickly turned into an opportunity to change lives.

"I was buying a bra and I heard about this (program) where you can donate bras to people who really could use them, and I came all the way back today because I didn't have one with me. So I donated five today," Deloach said.

Hundreds of bras being collected in local Soma Intimates stores will soon belong to abuse survivors looking for a new start at the Battered Women and Children's Shelter.

"One of the first things they do when you come here is provide you with clothing that you can go outside with. Which is really exciting for me," one abuse survivor said.

The unidentified woman explained that her controlling abuser had stolen simple freedoms from her.

"I wasn't provided with any financial means to even clothe myself. I was bought things like pajamas, which I could stay home in, but not things I could go outside with," she said.

When she got to the shelter, she got to sift through the donation closet and pick out her very own shirts, pants, shoes and bras. Bras, along with socks, are always the most needed donation items at the shelter.

"It's a huge impact. Especially leaving such a difficult situation with all of the trauma, sometimes the clothes are the last things they're thinking of when they're leaving," said Linda Canizales with Family Violence Protective Services.

To boost confidence in survivors across the nation, the "Giving is Beautiful" bra donation campaign was born.

At San Antonio's Soma location on Basse Road, employees are trying to top last year's record of donating 1,100 bras. Just last week people donated 116, so they're headed in the right direction.

In doing this, they're transforming a simple garment into a symbol of freedom.

The bra donation campaign runs through Feb. 3. Anyone interested in donating new or gently used bras, can drop them off at any Soma store.

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