Somewhere in the United States, a woman celebrates her moment of courage in finally leaving the man that hit her and made her feel like she wasn’t good enough, made her feel like he deserved all the abuse he piled on her. She left in such a hurry that she didn’t take anything with her, just the clothes on her back, but she got away.
Somewhere else, in Africa, a woman walks alone. The gangs of men in the shadows study her every movement to decide what they will do next. They prey upon the weak, and how she dresses may well mean the difference, in their eyes between someone who can be beaten, raped or killed, or someone with higher social standing who just might not be worth the trouble.
Neither of these scenarios is taken from a particular person or incident, but events like these happen every day. Women around the world may find themselves in trouble, and in need of support. There are many charitable organizations around the world dedicated to providing the basics. Food, shelter and, of course, clothing. In many cases, however, these organizations don’t provide certain items of clothing that are rarely donated, and there are never enough to go around.
Support1000, founded by Logan Square resident Oz du Soleil, is a specialty nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting and distributing donated brassieres (new and gently used) to social service professionals and organizations that assist women and families. Having a bra can mean the difference between dignity and shame, it can mean the difference between getting a job that may turn a life around and needing to keep looking, and in some places, it can mean the difference between safe and unsafe.
Support1000 has sent donations to 40 different states in the U.S. (and Washington, D.C.) and internationally to several countries, including Nairobi, Kenya and Mali. The organization has a host of volunteers collecting and processing donations, working with sponsors, and making sure each brassiere gets to where it needs to be. The most effective events for the massive amount of work it takes in order for Support1000 to be effective are sponsorship drives like the upcoming Bra-La-Palooza in Chicago.
It takes more than the desire to help, volunteers must be organized, donations have to be sorted, packed and stored before shipping them out to those who need them. Bra-La-Palooza is a call to the volunteer community to move 15,000 donated bras from storage to be packed up and shipped out in one day. The event will take place Saturday, August 25th, at the Bodhi Spiritual Center (2746 N. Magnolia). Support1000 has rallied many people behind the cause, but more hands willing to pitch in are always needed.