Supportive . . . Waitaki District Libraries manager Jenny Bean (left) and Zonta Club of Oamaru member Rowena Hutton are asking Waitaki women to donate bras for Project Uplift. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

A small donation can go a long way to help fill up someone else’s cup.

Project Uplift – a programme recycling unwanted bras to send to women in the Pacific Islands – helps do just that, and now the Waitaki community has the opportunity to support it.

The Zonta Club of Oamaru and Waitaki District Libraries have collaborated, and collection boxes are now at all the Waitaki library branches, to gather up good quality bras, including sport, nursing and mastectomy bras, crop tops, fabric nappies and swimwear, for those who need it.

Zonta member Rowena Hutton said the Oamaru club had been supporting the project “low key” for the past 18 months, and wanted to open it up for more people in the community to get behind. The library drop off points would be a big help, she said.

For women in disadvantaged communities, a bra was often unobtainable or unaffordable.

“It’s absolutely the reality of it. It’s just really sad,” Mrs Hutton said.

Helping Pacific Island women to be comfortable and confident was important. Since 2005, Project Uplift has sent more than 2 million bras to women who have requested them.

“The women are so grateful. Older women have never had a bra in their life, younger ones you read that they’re clicking their heels and are so excited about it. It does mean so much, and it’s so little that we can do because often we’ll just throw them [away] and there’s still a lot of wear in them.”

Giving unwanted bras was a donation people did not have to “dig into their pockets for”, but people were welcome to give a little extra if they wished, she said.

Having the support of the library to provide a central drop off point, which could be as “discreet” as people wanted, was helpful.

Waitaki District Libraries manager Jenny Bean said the library was a “community hub” and there was a display in the Oamaru library with more information about Project Uplift.

Ms Bean said the library was happy to help support the cause.

“For the library it’s about supporting the work of Zonta, because Zonta’s about helping women, children, and girls to have a better education and a better life, and that’s what the library’s about – literacy for all, literacy for life.

“For us to be able to support a project that Zonta’s involved in is really great and something that’s going to be a big benefit.”