FASHION & BEAUTY: Bra Recycling
Panache Vintage & Finer Consignment is the New York State Ambassador for BRA Recycling. Receiving weekly shipments from all over NY State and daily donations into our Hope Chest has resulted in thousands of BRA donations. The original intent for BRA Recycling was to educate and keep BRAS out of the landfills. Now through further education we not only service our local Women’s Shelters such as Alternatives for Battered Women, East House and Serenity Home with “like-new” bras, Panache is beginning a new relationship with Free the Girls®.
Free the Girls® is a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities to women rescued from sex trafficking. At Free The Girls® the belief is that the world can change, that they can help to end slavery.
When you donate your used bras, Free the Girls® provides a job to a former victim of human trafficking selling those bras in Africa.
Used clothing is a profitable market in many countries around the world. Bras are usually sought after items. Some of the girls in our program are making five times the minimum wage in their community by selling bras.
Bras also provide an opportunity for these women to work with other women, since they have a history of being abused and used by men.
Most of the women in the program were sold into prostitution as children when they were only 8-10 years old. Because their lives were stolen from them, they missed out on going to school and getting an education. Selling bras allows them to work as much or as little as their school schedule permits.
Once a program has been started with a safe house, it is designed to sustain itself. The women receive their starting inventory of bras at no cost, they then pay a small amount of money for additional bras once they sell their initial inventory. This money is used to cover the expenses for the next shipment of bras. That means we only raise money to start new projects, not to keep established projects going.
What started out as a campaign for recycling is now a feel-good partnership to make a difference in a young girl’s life.
Joan E. Lincoln is the owner of Panache Vintage and Finer Consignment located at 1855 Monroe Ave.