When disasters occur and donations begin to flood in, rescuers know they will get a lot of the usual staple food – bottled water, non-perishable food and clothing.
But there is a need for a project that is almost always in short supply:
“I don’t know why this is happening, but when disaster strikes, people send a variety of clothes, and in many cases it’s gentle clothes,” said Stephanie Gibson of Frank P. Phillips YMCA of Columbus. “But no one is sending underwear. To be honest, no one wants someone else’s underwear. It’s like using someone else’s toothbrush.”
Due to the expected next crisis, Y will hold a one-month “Show You Care With Underwear” event in September. Y is seeking to donate new sizes of underwear in various sizes – underwear, socks, bras and undershirts.
Underwear will be distributed through Y’s crisis response plan “The Undercover Project”.
Gibson said that Y’s crisis team not only responded to major disasters such as hurricanes and Smithville tornadoes, but also responded to possible personal needs, such as house fires or other personal disasters.
Donations can be decentralized anywhere in downtown Columbus, Caledonia and New Hope Y’s Lowndes County.
Gibson said that the undercover project began in Columbus, as Y responded to Hurricane Katrina and is now the national YMCA national project.
“We will not work through other institutions, although we will definitely be open to this,” Gibson said. “This is what we do ourselves.”