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Gift of Lift: New boost, new life

Existing campaign to collect brassieres for women in need becomes revitalized

By , Columbian Health Reporter
Published:
2 Photos
Provided by the Gift of Lift
The Gift of Lift is collecting new and gently used bras to benefit women and girls in local and national nonprofit programs. The current drive runs through Jan. 17.
Provided by the Gift of Lift The Gift of Lift is collecting new and gently used bras to benefit women and girls in local and national nonprofit programs. The current drive runs through Jan. 17. Photo Gallery

• PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery

505 N.E. 87th Ave., Building A, Suite 250, Vancouver

• PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

Firstenburg Tower, eighth floor

400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place, Vancouver

• Divine Consign

904 Main St., Vancouver

• Shanahan’s Pub and Grill

209 W. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver

• More information: Melissa Mohr, 360-514-1017 or mmohr@peacehealth.org; www.facebook.com/thegiftoflift

A fizzling community effort to collect brassieres for women in need is getting a much-needed lift.

The Gift of Lift was launched three years ago by Dr. Allen Gabriel and PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery. The Vancouver plastic surgeon hoped to collect 500 bras to take with him on a trip to Haiti.

Donations poured in from patients and local businesses, and in just a few months, they had collected more than 2,000 bras.

After the trip, the medical office kept the campaign going, distributing bras to local nonprofit organizations and sending them with providers on humanitarian trips to India, Africa and Haiti. In the last year or so, though, the effort stalled, said Melissa Mohr, office coordinator at PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery.

• PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery

505 N.E. 87th Ave., Building A, Suite 250, Vancouver

• PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

Firstenburg Tower, eighth floor

400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place, Vancouver

• Divine Consign

904 Main St., Vancouver

• Shanahan's Pub and Grill

209 W. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver

&#8226; More information: Melissa Mohr, 360-514-1017 or <a href="mailto:mmohr@peacehealth.org;">mmohr@peacehealth.org;</a> <a href="http://www.facebook.com/thegiftoflift">www.facebook.com/thegiftoflift</a>

A new partnership, however, is revitalizing the Gift of Lift campaign to the benefit of women and girls locally and internationally.

“It’s really awesome for us,” Mohr said. “We knew we wanted to breathe new life into it, but things get hectic and fall to the wayside. It’s going to be completely different.”

New life

The revitalized Gift of Lift will collect new and gently used bras year-round. Two to four times a year, they’ll launch several-monthslong campaigns to benefit specific groups or individuals, such as a physician providing care abroad.

The first campaign launched earlier this month and runs through Jan. 17. The effort will benefit a local program and an international nonprofit — both aimed at helping women and girls.

The local program, the YWCA’s Worth Program, benefits women incarcerated in the Clark County Jail. Program volunteers visit with women weekly to offer support, referrals to community services and basic clothing, such as bras, underwear and socks.

The other beneficiary, Free the Girls, is a Colorado-based nonprofit that provides job opportunities to women rescued from sex trafficking. Free the Girls collects bras and gives them to sex trafficking victims who sell the second-hand bras while they go back to school.

Organizers are working with local businesses to collect bras and want to hear from organizations interested in being future collection drive beneficiaries. Organizers will present the first batch of bras to the two organizations at a conference Jan. 17.

New partnership

The stars aligned to bring the new campaign to life.

About a month ago, Robin Helm was at the PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery office for an appointment. Helm, who works as a family assistance specialist at Clark County Juvenile Court, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Since the surgery, she had bras that no longer fit and wanted to hold a bra collection drive.

During her appointment, Helm shared her idea with Gabriel and Mohr, who hoped to revitalize the Gift of Lift efforts. Together, they teamed up with Michelle Bart at the Vancouver-based nonprofit National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation. In her role at the Juvenile Court, Helm has worked with girls impacted by sex trafficking and became familiar with Bart and the nonprofit’s work.

The goal for all three groups is the same: to help as many women and girls as possible.

“It’s women helping women,” Bart said.

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Columbian Health Reporter