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A few days ago, must-read blog Good Intentions Are Not Enough asked nonprofits to e-mail in the worst in-kind donations they’ve received. In today’s post, the blog runs down the best (er, worst?) submissions. Here’s a horrifying taste:

Worst in-kind donation as a tax write-off: Skeleton shaped suckers leftover from Halloween sent to survivors of Hurricane Mitch

The most ridiculous in-kind donation: Knickers for Africa and bras for Haiti – recent requests were made for donations of both of these items recently by two different organizations

Read the full post here – but don’t laugh too hard at that last item I quoted. Why? Well, in addition to designing and implementing a service project that sustainably addresses an underserved population’s unmet health need, U.S. Schweitzer Fellows are required to complete an outreach project that does the same.

And earlier this spring, five 2008-09 Bay Area Fellows (Ifey Asiodu, Mary Ann Dakkak, Serena Huntington, Alexis Jannicelli, and Hugo Torres) conducted a successful outreach project that delivered, yes, bras and “knickers.”

Because women’s undergarments are rarely collected during clothing drives, and area shelters professed a need for them, these five Fellows (who dubbed their outreach “Project Bra”) collected undergarments and toiletries for homeless women in the Bay Area. In addition, they raised over $1,000 to buy even more. Gift bags containing the garments and toiletries were delivered to women’s shelters — and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

So asking for bra and underwear donations might provoke an initial giggle — but that tittering is worth it if the end result helps to meet a real need.

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