PITTSBURG — The community gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed event to collect bras for area women on Saturday at Crestwood Country Club.   
The brunch was hosted to help secure new bras for clients at Wesley House, Safehouse Crisis Center and students in Pittsburg USD 250.
If there was an award for “guest who traveled furthest” it would be Debi Kreutzman, Kansas Food Bank Community Relations Manager and Lisa Anderson, volunteer at the Kansas Food Bank, both are from Wichita.
The food bank serves 85 Kansas counties and organizations such as Wesley House and Lord’s Diner. The organization also administers food in programs across Kansas,including Pittsburg.
After learning about the event last year, Kreutzman said she knew she had to come out to the event.
“When you think of something as simple as an undergarment, to say ‘I can’t buy that,’” she said. “Even though that may be something they need to be able to look good and feel good — and to able to go to work — an event like this, the supporting organizations are truly helping to take that next step and serving those women that are trying to better themselves.”
Communities in Schools Site Director at Pittsburg Community Middle School Vanessa De Luna was also present and thanked the crowd for their efforts in collecting undergarments for young women at Pittsburg Community Schools.
“Just like adult women, young girls come in every shape and size and it has brought so much relief and joy to those who cannot afford a proper bra,” she said. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pass along your blessings and for your support in USD 250.”
The bras donated last year has made an impact on area women who visit Wesley House, Wesley House Daily Operations Manager Mandy Giddens said.
For one woman, her self-esteem was boosted, Giddens said.
“When she came back to Wesley House she told me she had not had a bra for nine years and that the bra that we gave her fit and she was so amazed that it made her feel so much better about herself,” Giddens said. “This is the story we have so very often with the bras at Wesley House.
“It’s a huge contribution to us and to the people in this community.”
Many women who flee to Safehouse Crisis Center often arrive with just the clothing on their back — sometimes this doesn’t include a bra, Safehouse Crisis Center Program Director Brooke Powell said.
“This program was incredibly helpful to our clients that come in and really have nothing,” she said.
This year, 80 bras and over $1,000 in monetary donations were collected. Any additional monetary donations can be mailed off or dropped off at the Family Resource Center at 1600 N. Walnut, Pittsburg.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.