Raise your hand if you have ever received underwear as a gift. It may seem like an embarrassing gift for many of us, but imagine if you never had your own new underwear. The Salvation Army states that underwear is the second most requested essential item after food and water, but it is the least donated item. Today I write about an organization that is helping fill this underserved need.
Over a conversation with her brother-in-law, Koree Khongphand-Buckman was inspired. He told her how his family grew up without much money and he would be so excited when they received barely used underwear as part of their donations rather than very used underwear. She left that evening feeling sad to know that children grew up with used underwear or no underwear at all. The next morning she shared the story with her co-workers and it tugged at their heartstrings too. They formulated a plan to make a difference in children’s lives, one pair of underwear at a time. Soon the UNDERWEARNESS organization was born.
UNDERWEARNESS is based in Thornton, Colorado and is on a mission to provide new underwear to children in need. Underwear is kind of a taboo subject so it is rarely donated. The organization may not be saving the world, but they are providing brand new packages of underwear to children so they can have underwear that is theirs and theirs alone. UNDERWEARNESS serves a unique need by focusing on underwear. They do not donate directly to individuals, they provide their new donations to children through other 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that assists families and children in need.
Since 2009, they have donated over 61,000 pairs of underwear to locations all over the United States as well as the Dominican Republic, Africa, Haiti, and Mexico. This has helped approximately 10,000 children. They recently collected about 4,000 pairs of underwear to the Salvation Army in Staten Island, New York to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is that they did this in just 3 days. Earlier in 2012, their third annual Drop Your Drawers 5K event was held in Denver and collected over 4,000 pairs of underwear and $15,000. The underwear was donated to the Salvation Army of Denver to go to the Colorado Wildfire Victims.
Like many other organizations, UNDERWEARNESS is run completely by volunteers so they have a variety of ways you can help.
- You can make a monetary donation through the organization’s website.
- You can also host an underwear drive in your own community and the organization will donate the underwear to the organization of your choice. They have details on how to run a drive on their website.
- If you are in the Denver, Colorado area, you can participate in or volunteer for their annual “Drop Your Drawers 5K” event. You can find the details about the upcoming May 2013 event here.