August 27, 2018 9:38:50 AM
Slim Smith - [email protected]
When disaster strikes and donations begin pouring in, relief workers know they'll get plenty of the usual staples -- bottled water, nonperishable foods and clothing.
But there is one needed item that is almost always in short supply:
"I don't know why it is, but when there's a disaster people send all kinds of clothing and a lot of times it's gently-used clothing," said Stephanie Gibson of the Frank P. Phillips YMCA in Columbus. "But nobody sends underwear and, to be honest, nobody wants someone else's underwear. It's like using somebody else's toothbrush."
In anticipation of the next such crisis, the Y is holding a month-long "Show You Care With Underwear" campaign in September. The Y is seeking donations of new, packaged undergarments of all sizes -- underwear, socks, bras and undershirts.
The underwear will be distributed through the Y's crisis response program, "The Undercover Project."
Gibson said the Y's crisis team not only responds to big disasters such as hurricanes and the Smithville tornado, but responds to individual needs that might arise, such as a house fire or some other personal disasters.
Donations can be dropped off at any of the Y's Lowndes County locations in downtown Columbus, Caledonia and New Hope.
The Undercover Project began in Columbus as the Y's response to Hurricane Katrina and is now a national program operating in YMCA's throughout the country, Gibson said.
"We don't work through other agencies, although we would certainly be open to that," Gibson said. "It's something we do ourselves."
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]