Lacey and Samantha Foon team up to donate feminine products for a great cause.
Photos by Samantha Foon
While at a hair salon, 32-year-old Samantha Foon flipped through a magazine. An article caught her attention: a story about I Support the Girls, an international nonprofit that collects and distributes essential items for women in need, including bras, underwear and menstrual hygiene products.
“I remembered I had a drawer of 20 bras at my parents’ house, which has probably been sitting there for 10 years,” the Bloomfield Hills resident said.
She says she figured if she had bras she wasn’t wearing, others must, too.
After partnering with her sister-in-law Lacey Foon, 32, also of Bloomfield Hills, the two decided to host their own drive. They contacted the Detroit chapter of I Support the Girls, one of more than 50 affiliate chapters across the world, and connected with a local representative.
“I don’t think she realized what [was] coming her way,” Samantha Foon said with a laugh.
Not even two weeks after their drive began on Jan. 9, the Foons collected more than 11,000 items for I Support the Girls. The total included 525 bras, 600 pairs of underwear and more than 10,000 feminine hygiene products.
I Support the Girls accepts donations from individual to corporate levels. The Detroit chapter has donated almost 20,000 bras and more than 250,000 menstrual products to the area since launching in July 2016. While some recipient organizations only accept new bras, many accept gently used laundered bras without tears, rips or clasp problems.
“One of our goals is to get those bras back out into the community where they can make a big impact on women’s day-to-day lives,” said Rebekah Page-Gourley, volunteer Detroit Affiliate Director for I Support the Girls.
For the Foons, it started with an email blast to about 100 women in the local community. Then the sisters-in-law shared their drive on Instagram.
“It opened the floodgates to not just our immediate friends, but friends in other cities,” Lacey Foon said. “It went from a hundred close people to at least a thousand. It opened up to men who were interested in helping, and parents of our friends.”
The drive ran through Jan. 24. It also included an Amazon Wish List where donors could purchase items to be sent directly to the Foons’ homes. The Amazon link alone raised more than $1,300 in donations.
Boxes of items arrived on their front steps every day.
“As soon as we think we’ve tapped out all of our connections, someone else gets interested,” Lacey Foon said. “It’s a huge testament to the power of social media in terms of charity.”
The Foons sought to include a wide range of sizes and fits for products in an effort to be inclusive.
Many of the Foons’ donors are members of the Jewish community. They received support from teachers and parents at Hillel Day School, where Samantha Foon’s children go to school.
“Once I Support the Girls Detroit receives the donated items, we contact a number of local organizations,” Page-Gourley explained, “such as community centers, street outreach groups, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and transitional housing organizations to determine where there is a need for the various items.”
The best way to get involved, the Foons recommend, is to create a drive of your own.
“Tell everyone you know because people are so generous and want to help,” Samantha Foon said. “We’re just so amazed at the generosity of everyone. We never anticipated a fraction of this.”