The Mustard Seed has put together a wishlist and checked it twice—don’t blush but they’re asking for undies.
The charity says they receive a lot of food and outerwear over the holidays but need more underwear donations.
“For people’s dignity and to they feel good about themselves it’s crucial to have good hygiene,” said Byron Bradley, executive director at the Mustard Seed.
People are generous around the holidays, he said, adding that they rely on Christmas donations to last them throughout the year and there is always a high need for hygiene items.
“These are things I used to think having access to was a given – a ‘right’ in a developed country,” Bradley said.
Lack of access to showers and laundry services are major barriers for people trying to gain employment or find housing.
Underwear has a shorter lifespan than other clothing items and needs to be replaced more frequently.
“It keeps us warmer,” said BethanyJo Patricia Desjardins, a guest at the Mustard Seed.
“We need that extra lining, especially in the winter time because a lot of us are sleeping outside or in bank foyers.
She said underwear is in high demand and it is hard to find at places that give out clothing. Especially because they cannot accept used ones for medical reasons.
Desjardins explained that for many homeless women especially new underwear is essential to cleanliness during their menstrual cycles.
In the shelters people can get laundry done once a week, but for those who do not access them washing is more difficult.
The Mustard Seed is also asking for new sock donations for ‘warm feet for the street’, and encourages people to pack a hygiene kit with things like shower products and new underwear for the ‘Home in a Backpack’ campaign.
According to Bradley, the charity needs under-attire for men, women, boys and girls.
Also, The Mustard Seed does not get many donations of bras or feminine hygiene products.
“We need stuff of all sizes because people come in all sizes,” he said.
This is the Mustard Seed’s second Christmas in Red Deer since taking over from Loaves and Fishes.
They ask for only new sock and underwear donations.