WASHINGTON — When escaping storms or floodwaters, some personal care supplies may slip off the list of important things to grab when life and limb are at risk. A local organization has rallied community members to help fill that void for Texas storm victims.
BRAWS, which stands for Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters, is collecting personal items to help those who have been displaced as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
Volunteers staffed BRAWS’ new office location in Vienna, Virginia, on Saturday and Sunday during the Labor Day weekend to collect items ranging from feminine hygiene products to underwear and diapers for babies and adults.
“Because of everything that happened in Texas, we couldn’t just sit by,” said Holly Seibold, founder and executive director of BRAWS.
So she and her team of volunteers are calling on community members to drop off products for women and girls affected by the catastrophic storm that swept through parts of Texas and Louisiana.
“We collect pads, tampons, sealed packages of underwear and bras with tags on only. We don’t accept anything used,” she said.
Seibold says they’ve also received wipes, socks and underwear for men.
“We’re happy to throw them in the boxes and send down there because I’m sure somebody will find a need for them.”
Adults weren’t the only ones helping collect items. Some preteens and younger children got in on the action, like 12-year-old volunteer Taylor Smith. She told WTOP she’s volunteered with BRAWS for about three years.
“These people are just like us. But then one day they’re in a house, they have clothes, they have warmth, but the next day there’s nothing, basically,” Smith said.
Seibold said the first wave of donations will be shipped to different locations in Texas on Tuesday.
“Through our network, we have different individuals who are going to collect those items and bring them to different shelters in Houston,” Seibold said.
BRAWS is also sending other items by truck on Friday. They are accepting Harvey-related donations until close of business on Thursday, Sept. 7.
Those wanting to donate should reach out to BRAWS via email to arrange a time for drop-off.
The organization also accepts feminine hygiene products, bras and underwear throughout the year to benefit women and girls in homeless shelters throughout the D.C. area.