Uplifting way to support women in need

Gravity impacts everyone, but for women it can present its unique challenges. Oak Harbor resident Kate Mistler is offering support.

The bra as we know it today was invented in 1914, but females had been using other methods of containment for ages. For most women, they’re considered a necessity. But when clothing drives and donations are made to benefit the homeless, they are often overlooked.

Mistler recently learned about the nonprofit organization I Support the Girls, which collects and distributes bras and feminine hygiene products to local women in need.

“It made me feel guilty because it’s something I should’ve thought of before but never did,” she said. “It’s something we take for granted.”

There are 50 affiliates of the organization across the U.S. and abroad, but Mistler noticed a lack of presence on the West Coast.

She’s doing all she can to address the issue, but she said she could use help. Recently, she and her friend Kristi Lovelady stood outside Walmart in Oak Harbor for five hours with a poster board explaining the issue and a box full of bras, sanitary pads and tampons.

“We’re getting the word out, and it’s going better than I anticipated,” Mistler said.

Her efforts have only continued to ramp up. She has arranged to take collections in front of Walmart again Tuesday, March 19; Saturday, April 13 and Saturday, April 27. She placed a garbage bin —- decorated with bright drawings of a bra, tampon and sanitary pad —- for collections in front of her house and will accept donations at any time. She’s been in contact with The Goose Community Grocer in Langley and Payless Foods in Freeland about setting up a table and collecting on the South End as well.

If groups get together and collect several items, she said she’ll pick them up. One of her contributors chooses to remain anonymous and orders donations online and ships them to Mistler, she said.

Every item collected will be distributed locally, she said.

She logs and tracks each product she receives, makes bags with assorted sizes and feminine hygiene products. She has dropped off the collections at the Whidbey Homeless Coalition and Ryan’s House and plans on stopping at the Haven homeless shelter and the Garage of Blessings soon. She’s hoping more volunteers will step up as the word gets out.

She only learned about I Support the Girls a month ago after watching an episode of the Facebook series “Returning the Favor.”

“I’ve always donated to different causes,” Mistler said, “but I’ve never gotten into it full bore like I am now.”

As she watched the show, she was struck by stories of women using cardboard or newspapers in lieu of sanitary pads. She knows people are sometimes uncomfortable talking about menstruation or bras, but she’s trying to change that because it’s a real issue facing women in the community.

Eventually, she wants to expand the cause to the regional level.

“We are trying to bring awareness here,” she said. “And this is just the beginning.”

• To learn more about donating or volunteering, contact Kate Mistler at 360-678-2090 or paminron@gmail.com. Donations can be delivered or shipped to 1008 Diane Ave., Oak Harbor, WA 98277

More in News

The city of Langley plans to replace well-loved playground equipment at Generation Park with a new structure that includes glide slides, spiral climber, horizontal loop ladder, spin cup, toddler swing and more. (Photo provided)
Generation Park slated for new playground equipment

Glide slides, spiral climber, loop ladder, spin cup and more swinging in soon

Dogs still get to run free by the sea in Langley

Seawall Park exempted from new leash law

Cooking up lessons in Langley’s Learning Labs

Youth, adults take classes in revamped home ec and shop classrooms

Geri Forbes’ four-year tenure marked by change, controversy and construction

Bottom line got healthier than took a turn for the worse

Port renames, rebrands Langley fair property to attract events

One of the oldest venues on South Whidbey has a new name… Continue reading

Port of South Whidbey commissioners Jack Ng, left, Curt Gordon and Ed Halloran review a list of grant application requests before announcing their decision at a meeting.
Port announces annual grants for tourism development

Eight organizations get piece of $30,000 pie

Port looking to fill commissioner vacancy

Port of Coupeville commissioners are deciding how to fill a to-be vacant… Continue reading

David Felice photo
                                Island County Emergency Management Director Eric Brooks talks about the importance of disaster readiness Saturday at St. Hubert’s Church in Langley. Several agencies presented an informal demonstration and discussion of how to be ready for emergencies.
Be prepared, emergency manager says

When Eric Brooks thinks about his work, he asks himself “How big… Continue reading

Langley calls for street dance artists

The Langley Main Street Association is accepting submissions from bands and artists… Continue reading

Most Read