By Shane Bell
Mardi Bras is an annual joint-fundraiser between Hope House of Volunteers of America and Transitions Women’s Hearth to raise bras, underwear, and STA bus passes for homeless women in Spokane. The fundraiser encompasses many parties, but this year Westminster UCC is throwing its own Mardi Bras Party on Feb. 10, between 11am-2pm, at Westminster UCC.
All women are encouraged to come to this party that champions and celebrates women. Festivities will include music, Gumbo, Mardi Gras-themed dessert like King cake, and a guest speaker, Director of Volunteers of America Jon Corollo. Attendees are asked to bring one of the following: new bra, underwear, or STA bus card(s). Though a women-only event, men are invited to donate money towards the effort.
“It’s even tougher being a homeless woman,” said Rev. Andrea CastroLang of Westminster UCC. “One of the things people don’t think about is that you need a bra that fits, you need underwear, you need feminine hygiene products. Many think the homeless are all men. That is not true. There are plenty of homeless women, too.”
Karen Nielsen, an organizer of the event and Westminster member, is excited for the church to host its first Mardi Bras event. “One of the missions in our church that I really connect with is helping our homeless neighbors. These items are essential but are often overlooked,” says Nielsen, “so it is really neat to meet those things specifically.”
“This is an opportunity for us to recognize our sisterhood, trying to honor that I am a woman and that you are a woman and that we are going to take care of each other,” said Rev. Andrea CastroLang. “In terms of dignity, every woman deserves a well-fitting bra.”