Bridgeport, CT -- “Wait, what? Undies?” Discussing the need for new undergarments was a no-brainer for the H.E.A.L students at The Bridge Academy in Bridgeport. They quickly identified, and got to the heart of, why having new, clean underwear is a big deal, and how buying new underwear if you are on a low income can be a real burden and expense.
Underwear is the most needed, yet most under donated item of clothing that many of us take for granted. Deciding to do something to help, H.E.A.L. teamed up with The Undies Project, a CT-based non-profit charity that collects new, unused undergarments for men, women and children in need and distributes them to Fairfield County organizations, shelters and emergency assistance programs where they are needed the most.
H.E.A.L. (Health, Empathy, Altruism, Love) is a community outreach program of Homes with Hope Inc. in Westport that provides teen girls with a sense of belonging as they build confidence and develop self-esteem through volunteer service to others.
Over the course of six weeks, The Bridge Academy H.E.A.L. students, as well as their counterparts in Weston and members of Project Return in Westport, a program of Homes with Hope Inc., really went to town volunteering. The Bridge Academy students rolled out a full campaign, putting up posters in hallways, classrooms and even in the restrooms, to raise awareness and money to purchase underwear. After brainstorming various ideas, they elected to have bake sales during parent/teacher conferences and also have collection jars in homerooms for any loose change that students and staff might have in their bags, backpacks and pockets.
The groups all baked yummie goodies such as brownies, pound cake, banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes and cannoli that they sold for $1 per portion. Impressed by the students' enthusiasm to get behind this drive, Bridge Academy Middle School Principal Rachel Allison offered a “Pancake Breakfast” to the homeroom that raised the most. Mr. Krauss’ 7th grade class won and got to enjoy the fruits of their labor!
After raising over $880, the H.E.A.L students enjoyed a field trip to Walmart, Burlington Coat Factory and Marshalls to purchase underwear with the money they had collected. They purchased an incredible 395 items to donate to The Undies Project, which was then invited to visit The Bridge Academy to receive the donations.
“What an amazing group of girls! We were blown away by how much they raised and how much underwear they were able to purchase. We can’t thank them enough," said Lucy Langley of The Undies Project.
Laura Delaflor of The Undies Project added, “Their generosity, willingness to help and dedication is truly an inspiration. They should be very proud of themselves. It was a real pleasure to meet them and be able to thank them in person for all their hard work. They have truly made a difference in the lives of others less fortunate."
For more information about The Undies Project, visit www.theundiesproject.org