You might wonder why the title of my Blog is ‘bras and baby clothes,’ as those are not donations we can use at the Breadfruit House. There is a story there that I going to tell you.
The last time we shipped donations to Dominica was a costly, time-consuming, and disastrous experience. read mu Blog about that ordeal here. That’s why I was not looking forward to it this time.
One of my dear friends, Corrie, agreed to store all the boxes in her attic for the past 1.5 years. She also had been very active in getting others involved in donating. So, the number of boxes grew steadily.
It is hard to find good quality and affordable bras in Dominica. The bras sold here are usually made from polyester, which is uncomfortable in our climate. Or just not available at all. When I traveled to the Netherlands last year, I asked every woman I met to donate one bra. It didn’t have to be new; size and color didn’t matter.
The response was overwhelming; everyone wanted to donate; some even bought new bras. As my friend Pamela was coming to spend with me, she offered to bring all the bras. We never expected it to add up to 55, weighing 4.5 kg! I still remember enjoying a high tea with her and sorting all the bras simultaneously underneath the table. Just to make sure that every bra was clean and didn’t have any frays.
One thing led to another.
When I posted about it on social media, others said they also wanted to donate. By then, Pamela was already in Dominica. Therefore, I told everyone I would inform them once I started collecting again. And that turned out to be sooner than I had anticipated.
Earlier this year, Corrie called me, telling me the exciting news that she was moving house. This was it if I needed a sign to start getting all the donations ready. We still had a few months, so I alerted everyone who wanted to donate. What happened next was amazing, beyond anything I had ever imagined. From everywhere, bras started coming in, and we didn’t count them, but I believe we had close to 350 bras.
One woman said all her male coworkers collected money so she could buy new bras to donate to me. We had someone donate a mastectomy bra with 2 prostheses. We received every possible size, design, and all colors of the rainbow you could possibly think of. I felt so pleased about all of this and grateful for every woman who donated to make a woman in Dominica happy.
This Blog is titled bras and baby clothes; where do the baby clothes come into the picture? I never asked for baby clothes. However, when Corrie asked me, I thought, why not. There are often young mothers who have nothing. Again, I was surprised how much was donated: clothes, diapers, spit squares, onesies, and lots more.
Let me tell you, we made many young mothers very happy. Sending everyone who donated a heartfelt thank you; it was very well received.
Gratitude all around.
I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this a success. People donated bras, baby clothes, and lots of materials for the Breadfruit House. We received glitter and puffy paint in vibrant colors, glitter glue, paper in all possible colors and designs, crepe paper, decorations for the Breadfruit House, markers, and coloring pencils.
Some handy items, like a label maker and several crafting scissors with different wavy edges. It is only possible to list some things. I even had to buy 4 extra storage containers to keep everything dry in case water comes in the house due to a hurricane or storm.
I once wrote a Blog about the hurricane season, click here to read it. .
I have the best friends!
Corrie and Pamela offered to properly pack every box, and Frouke offered to drop everything off at the freight forwarder for free. I mentioned my bad experience with the previous shipment to a friend, who told me to contact a different shipping company. I called them, and they advised me to use a freight forwarder who would handle everything. Compared to the last time, this was such a smooth process. Not only were they cheaper, but everything was handled with care, and communication was excellent.
Frouke forwarded me a link to track the ship on her way to Dominica. She arrived on time without any hassle, and a few days later, all 18 boxes were in my spare bedroom. Now, it was my turn to start unpacking everything.
Chaos before order.
The 18 boxes contained many surprises, as I had not packed myself. My first task was to find the chocolate bars in one of the 18 boxes. Of course, they were in box nr. 17; I should have started there. It took quite some time, but I found them and put them safely in the fridge.
My next task was sorting everything, e.g., separating bras and baby clothes. Set things aside that I wanted to donate because we would not use them at Breadfruit House.
Let me be honest and tell you I am still not 100% done with everything, but the spare bedroom is almost back to being a bedroom instead of a storage space.
There were a lot of card-making materials. And I was able to donate to a non-profit that is hosting a workshop. I also donated some of those materials to a woman who enjoys making cards, and finally, I shared some stuff with a preschool owned by one of my friends.
Don’t worry; I didn’t give away everything; the Breadfruit House treasure room (a.k.a. my office) is fully stocked now.
Remarks from some of the recipients.
I did some of the distribution of baby clothes and bras myself. The rest was done by Tina and her Lifeline team. Thanking them for all the work they did.
Below are some remarks I received from women who received bras, baby clothes, and card-making materials. Once again, to everyone who helped in whatever way. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
“My sister really appreciates and loves the baby stuff you gave me for her. She told me to pass on her thanks”.
“We appreciate the gift of bras; they were of various sizes, beautiful, and in very good condition. We would like to extend our gratitude to Ms. Marieke for those of us who have benefited. We are indeed grateful.”
“I have been meaning to message you to thank you for the bras. A great expense lifted from my shoulders. I was able to get for myself and my daughters, much appreciated.”
I feel very fortunate for everyone’s help and support. Without you, this would not be possible. Just a heads up, I don’t think this was the last time I will call on you to donate bras and Breadfruit House donations, of course. Or pay for the shipment costs.
Hope to ‘see you’ again at my next Blog. Feel free to let me know if you enjoyed reading this one.