by Sally Cohen

A Local mother/daughter team has joined forces to “support” a unique women’s issue and a national organization called The Bra Recyclers, a division of BB Recycling, LLC, to host a “bra drive” to collect donations of gently used and new bras to donate to area women and teenage girls in need.

Anna Gard and her daughter, Abigail, show some of the more than 400 bras they have collected and are recycling by donating them to women and girls in area shelters.

Abigail Gard, an eighth grade student at St. Luke the Evangelist School in Glenside, and her mother, Anna Gard, a nurse practitioner at VNA Ginny Coombs Children’s Clinic in Abington, organized a donation event throughout the month of October to collect bras for local women and teen shelters in Philadelphia and highlight Breast Cancer Awareness as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We hosted a bra recycling drive through the bra recyclers organization,” said Anna. “We collected 437 used and new bras to donate to women and girls in transition in shelters for homeless, domestic violence safety and recovery. As a mother and clinician working with disadvantaged vulnerable populations, I see how many women and girls have poorly fitted and worn out undergarments, something so basic to one’s self image and esteem.

“We had a mother-daughter sort-and-pack party last weekend to organize donations. We have identified several local shelters and program, including Carson Valley Children’s Aid, Woodstock Family Center, Womanspace Ardmore and Family House Norristown. We plan to deliver some donations to The Covenant House, a homeless shelter for teenagers, in Germantown tomorrow afternoon.”

The idea for this drive arose from an email Anna received from a friend with the link to an article about the Bra Recyclers. The Bra Recyclers’ concept is simple: Used Bras= Using Simple Encouragements to Develop, Blossom and Renew positive Attitudes and Self-Esteem. “It fit so perfectly with the need I was seeing in these communities,” said Anna.

Abigail created the flyer and reached out to her neighbors, friends and family, school and soccer community. The response has been tremendous; in addition to the hundreds of bras collected so far, there have also been financial contributions to put toward shipping and packaging. Planning this bra drive during Breast Cancer Awareness Month had the added value of reminding donors about the importance of breast health, including screening mammograms and breast self-exam.

The Bra Recyclers organization is based in Gilbert, AZ.  A textile recycling company specializing in recycling bras, the organization does its part to help the environment by delaying the amount of unused bras and textiles that go to landfills, thus reducing the pressure on virgin resources.  For more information about the bra recycling drive, e-mail or visit