Brutton: Inaugural ‘Drop Your Drawers for Charity’ drive a success

Dignity comes in many forms in each of our lives. Some days it might be something as simple as getting dressed, looking in the mirror and feeling like you are ready to take on whatever challenge is presented to you that day. For others, dignity might come in an even simpler form like an acknowledging smile, warm meal or even a clean pair of underwear.

Dustin Brutton

That last one might not even register for so many of us who take an article of clothing like underwear for granted, but for those experiencing homelessness or tough times, a clean a pair of underwear could be that little piece of dignity they need. So why am I talking so much about underwear you ask?

It all started as I was sitting in a boardroom listening to Jessica Berg from St. Vincent de Paul share information on what high-demand needs the organization had for the population they serve. She mentioned the one piece of used clothing they cannot accept was underwear. If you are like me, it was something I had never even considered in the scheme of donations and helping the homeless. She shared that thousands of dollars are spent each year to purchase underwear, but still run short and have to turn people down for such a basic, fundamental clothing item.

I had the immediate feeling that I can and should do something about this. When I brought up the idea of an underwear drive to the room full of my peers on the professional advisory board, it got pretty quiet. I realized at that moment that the idea of such a drive was unique enough that people might think I was a little crazy, which meant it might just work! Our society is accustomed to clothing, canned food and back to school drives so why would providing someone who cannot afford a clean pair, or even any underwear at all, be viewed as anything but necessary in our community?

And so the ‘Drop Your Drawers for Charity’ underwear drive was set in motion and our hope was the slogan was clever enough, unique enough, and perhaps viewed as a little crazy enough, to inspire those to give.

In the end, through the month of October, this inaugural drive gathered more than 5,000 pairs of men’s, women’s and children’s underwear. I’m grateful to all of the individuals, companies and organizations who helped with this drive, and hope they will join us in our effort to get to 10K pairs next year!

I’ve heard countless stories of the dignity SVdP brings to many within the community as the organization helps those struggling to rebound from tough times. I couldn’t imagine not having a clean pair of underwear to put on after a shower, a simple item of clothing I certainly took for granted.

So whatever you call them, undies, knickers, drawers or any number of other slang terms, everyone deserves the simple dignity of a clean pair. So when donating other food and clothing items, consider buying a pack or two of underwear to help another in need. You never know the impact a simple article of clothing might make on that person’s life.

Editor’s Note: Dustin Brutton is a wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual, is a Scottsdale resident and a member of St. Vincent de Paul’s professional advisory board, The Vinnies.

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