Known as “The Accidental Bra Fairy,” Dana Marlowe has distributed more than 500,000 bras and 2.5 million personal hygiene products to women in need.
During last month’s government shutdown, Marlowe put out a Facebook post in which she offered to help female federal employees who had no money for bras or feminine hygiene products. She quickly received close to 100 responses from furloughed women.
What started as a local effort to help give a few homeless women some intimate wear has turned into an organization with 74 volunteers collecting and distributing bras, tampons and pads in 43 U.S. cities and in seven countries around the world, including Australia, Pakistan and the Philippines.
A resident of the D.C. suburb Silver Spring, Marlowe wrote a Facebook post in July 2015 sharing her newfound knowledge that homeless women were in dire need of bras and hygiene products. “That little Facebook post instantly exploded,” she said. Members of Marlowe’s tight-knit neighborhood made up primarily of Orthodox Jews were eager to begin donating their own products, she said. “I decided I needed to make it its own Facebook page because I couldn’t keep up with all the likes and shares.” And so, Marlowe began doing porch pick-ups across Montgomery County.
By that autumn, Marlowe said she had collected 1,000 bras and 7,100 sanitary products for her first donation in October. Soon, interest spread beyond the D.C. metro region.