Now that’s support: Surrey Women’s Centre hands out nearly 200 donated bras to women in need

'One woman said she had worn the same bra for 20 years, and the one she left here with was the first new bra she’d ever owned'

A recent “Bra Day” event organized by Sonya Perkins

SURREY — Nearly 100 women felt a little more comfortable upon leaving Surrey Women’s Centre on a recent Wednesday, and their stories were compelling.

“One woman said she had worn the same bra for 20 years, and the one she left here with was the first new bra she’d ever owned,” recalled Allison Tanaka, who organized a “Bra Day” event at the centre, where she works as office manager.

Close to 200 bras – two per person – were given to women in need.

But not just any bras – properly fitted ones.

It’s an initiative of Supportive Start, founded in 2014 by Fraser Heights-area resident Sonya Perkins.

New and gently-used bras are donated by customers and suppliers at the Forever Yours Lingerie store she operates in Langley.

For a few hours on Oct. 5, a back room at Surrey Women’s Centre was set up as a bra boutique.

Perkins helped one woman who struggled with English.

“I was kind of fitting her by charades,” Perkins recalled. “She came from Iraq five years ago with the one bra she owned, and it was absolutely in tatters. Going through life with one really bad bra for so long is a very uncomfortable situation.”

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTOS FROM ‘BRA DAY’ EVENT

The women also took home pairs of panties, “goodie bags” filled with personal-hygiene products and some lunch.

“This was huge for us, and really exciting,” Tanaka said. “It was super busy in here but also very gratifying to see the women leave here so happy with their new bras.”

Perkins said she has sometimes struggled to convince non-profit groups there is no “angle” with the donated bras and free fit clinics.

“We want to give women who are at a difficult spot in their lives an experience that will take them out of their situation, if only for an hour or so, and show them kindness while providing a necessity,” she explained.

“The other thing is, people hear it’s about bras and sometimes it’s automatically sexualized, but it shouldn’t be,” she added. “This is about an essential piece of clothing for women in western culture.”

Details about the initiative are posted at Foreveryourslingerie.ca/supportivestart.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP seek family of elderly woman found wandering in Surrey

Public asked to help identify South Asian woman who is not able to communicate with police

Strong winds, rain knock out power to thousands in Lower Mainland

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in region and Sunshine Coast

Semiahmoo wins Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic for second straight year

Totems’ senior boys battle back to top Tamanawis in tourney final at Enver Creek Saturday

Flavourful journey through the city

BIA’s Taste White Rock event returns

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

VIDEO: Surrey reviewing Clayton crosswalk after pedestrian hit

The city says investigation in response to safety concerns from local resident

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read