As most of you know, massive areas of the Philippines were obliterated by Typhoon Yolanda (otherwise known as Typhoon Haiyan) in early November of 2013. This devastating force of nature was the deadliest typhoon ever recorded, killing at least 6,155 people and leaving countless others homeless and in desperate need of the basic essentials we in America don’t give a second thought to.
Especially panties! Manila, Philippines, resident Sheila Juan Catilo, her sister Stef Juan, and her friend Paula Virata realized this as they were sorting through clothes, shoes, and medicine to give to Yolanda’s victims. Sheila’s 5-year-old daughter, Sky, added three pairs of underwear to the pile, shyly reminding her mother that, “they might not have panties of their own”.
With this simple yet profound statement, Sheila decided to organize The Great Panty Drive to collect much needed underwear, bras, boxers, and briefs; items that are not usually called for on donation lists, yet are paramount to maintaining not only a person’s hygiene but their dignity as well. Sheila explains, “Some think it’s a silly thing to donate, but most of these people have lost everything and survived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This is our way of helping them get a fresh start. Just imagine what a nice, clean pair of panties, bras, briefs or boxers can do to boost a person’s morale after being soaked and stuck in old clothes for days after the flood. There are health issues right there if they have not even one clean pair of underwear to change to. These are small things that can make a huge difference!”
When her fellow Manila resident Michelle Marchadesch Roxas caught wind of this (obvious pun intended), she realized that the curvy ladies affected by Yolanda would be even more in need, so she quickly organized The Plus Size Drive with the help of fellow curvy advocate, Liselle Lam. “Yes, unfortunately, there is such a thing as a donation that’s too small”, Michelle says. “Because Yolanda’s victims come in all shapes and sizes, we thought relief should too. If you’re a plus-size person, you know only too well that horrible, embarrassing feeling of not finding anything that fits.”
Since I can’t even bring myself to wear my undies two days in a row on a clean body, never mind for a week on a soaking wet, mud-splashed one, I’ll be sending some unmentionables to my curvy sisters in the Philippines ASAP!
If you feel the same, please contact The Plus Size Drive via their Facebook page, the link to which is listed below.
Everyone deserves a fresh change, especially for New Year’s. Please help Yolanda’s curvy victims to have theirs!