Matching Undies. No, not like that...

Matching undies! 

It's so easy to talk about shelters and domestic violence and homelessness as these nebulous things, these institutions. 

What's so much harder and can be overwhelming is remembering or trying to process that there are women, individuals, using these services, and experiencing these hardships. Looking at a women's shelter's wishlist can be heartbreaking. 

But coming together to help out, that's a pretty fabulous thing. 

And it just so happens that it is the time of year that you and I come together to support these women in our communities. 

Undies for Undies

For the third year in a row, for every pair of underwear you purchase in November and December, La Vie en Orange will donate a pair to a women's shelter in your hometown. With up to 100 pairs of undies being matched, it's a twofer- undies for you and undies donated for another special someone. 

It all started in 2011 when I heard about the need through a City Council member's blog post. I thought, "I make underwear. Of course I can help.

I wondered if I could help more than just in Seattle, and how I could incorporate it into my business. After poking around a little bit, I realized many women's shelters (and men's too) need new underwear to serve their clients. 


The idea to match each purchase was born.

Growing as a giver

In 2012, November and December were so successful it's taken me almost all year to make all the matches (77 in all!) and get them in the mail. Most are on their way out today. A few others will be sent soon... But for 2013 I've gotta cap the match, otherwise I'll never be able to make them all in 2014! 

So if you bought some Upitees last November or December, keep an eye out for the cc'ed letter to your local shelter. 

And thank you!

Digging Deeper

As November rolled near, I started thinking about doing this again and questioned whether it was the best way to honor your support and spend my time. 

Coming from a non-profit and social justice background (did I ever tell you I spent years doing peace education work, and then fundraising for immigrants' rights work?), I like to think I'm pretty sensitive to working on the root cause vs. putting band-aids on a situation and, more importantly, considering unintended consequences of any project. 

In the non-profit law firm I fundraised for we did a lot of class action law suit work to fight institutional racism in the immigration system on a regional and national level, but we also served low-income immigrants in Washington State with outstanding legal help for their day-to-day immigration needs. Because they couldn't wait for the system to be just, or for comprehensive immigration reform. It was badass. 

The bar for corporate citizenship and giving is crazy low, but I want to make sure my work has integrity and is truly helping. 

Side note: I could go on for weeks about corporate citizenship, why good intentions aren't enough (a lot of programs that drop big donations on communities are deeply flawed and can harm as much as they help), and why I'm doing what I'm doing... So stay tuned :) 

My undies aren't addressing the root causes of homelessness and domestic violence, but it makes sense to use my talents to help make a difference in a small but profound way for each individual who receives a pair. We all know how putting on the right undies can make a day. 

I'm just so grateful for your support, and it means so much to me to give back to the individual communities that support La Vie en Orange. I can't wait to make a 2014 donation in your name!

Hopefully you're pretty jazzed about it too. I mean, you already know how great Upitees are. :) So, I hope you'll start your holiday shopping here, knowing that you're making a difference a)in your loved-one's pants, and b)in your community. 

Thank you so much for helping support the life-changing work of women's and homeless shelters. 


P.S. Are you in the Detroit area? Wanna come hang out? La Vie en Orange will be at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair December 7-8, and at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale December 20-22.

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November 14, 2013


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