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Bissell Centre underwear collection campaign breaks record

Edmonton's Bissell Centre runs their annual Drop Your Gonch campaign. Global News

The Bissell Centre is celebrating after a successful campaign focusing on a product you normally wouldn’t think of donating.

The week-long Drop Your Gonch campaign wrapped up Saturday, collecting more than 7,000 pairs of underwear and bras.

Marketing and communications manager Devin Komarniski tells Global News the undergarment is one of the most asked for items, but one of the least-donated items traditionally. There’s a couple of reasons for that.

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Komarniski says the product has to be new, so people often don’t think of buying an extra set of underwear for the homeless while they’re at the store.

He also notes the item itself is somewhat uncommon to talk about.

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“People aren’t even comfortable talking about underwear, letting alone shopping for other people… We help break the ice on that conversation during the week we’re campaigning.”

This is the fifth year for Drop Your Gonch, and this year’s total exceeded last year’s record total of 5,000 undergarments.

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Komarniski says they’ve noticed the peak demand for underwear is in the summer when temperatures get hot.

“They’re wearing old, tattered, soiled underwear, they’re probably living rough and have been in the same underwear for days, weeks or even months.

“To be able to give them underwear when they really need it, there’s no better feeling for our support staff.”

Komarniski says they believe the 7,000 undergarments will allow them to provide one pair for everyone until at least December, but they are always looking for more donations.

If you’d like to donate, all donated undergarments must be new, and the most demanded sizes for men and women are medium, large and extra large underwear. If you are thinking of buying a new bra for someone, Komarniski says they take all shapes and sizes.

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