HPOU renews support for Undies for Everyone

Tom Kennedy

Recognizing the success for a unique non-profit organization dedicated to supplying new underwear to underprivileged school children, the HPOU issued another $2,000 check to Undies for Everyone.

HPOU 2nd Vice President Joe Gamaldi was thrilled with the organization’s success rate. “Undies for Everyone handed out over 75,000 pairs of underwear to underprivileged kids last year and has a goal of 125,000 to 150,000 this year.

“We hope HPOU’s contribution will help this great organization reach that goal and exceed it!”

The HPOU check was presented to the organization’s founder and executive director, Rabbi Amy Weiss. The effort began in 2008 when a social worker told Rabbi Weiss, “What these kids really need is underwear.”

“You don’t hear about underwear being given,” Weiss said, while repeating her group’s calling, “It’s the basic idea of dignity and self-esteem. A child is embarrassed if they are not clean or don’t have clean underwear and are teased.”

She said businesses and institutions favorably responded to Undies for Everyone in much the same manner as they did for the various drives to provide backpacks and school supplies.

In an interview with the Badge & Gun, Rabbi Weiss said the program has expanded to seven other school districts besides the Houston Independent School District.

“Our goal for the year is to give somewhere between 125,000 and 150,000 pairs of underwear away,” Rabbi Weiss said. “That would double what we did last year. Last year we gave out 75,000.

“That’s what we are all about. We started just giving to HISD (school children). Now we give to HISD and seven other school districts.

“We also give directly to kids at city of Houston Back to School Fest and also to kids in the Texas Children’s Health Plan, or CHIP.”

Weiss pointed out that Undies for Everyone also provides underwear to school nurses for direct distribution to the kids they serve. She said nurses have had to pay for underwear out of their own pockets to serve students who have accidents and need to return to class. They can’t return without a change.

Undies for Everyone now serves the following school districts in addition to HISD –

Alief, Fort Bend, Spring, Spring Branch, Waller, Cypress Fairbanks and KIPP (Knowledge is Power program).

The rabbi pointed out that new underwear for underprivileged students “builds some self-confidence for them. We need all new underwear, sizes 4 to 16 for kids, boys and girls.

“One thing we found is that boys prefer the boxer briefs, not the regular briefs. We give these to give a little self-confidence so that the other boys don’t make fun of them.

“Money and underwear is what we need.”

In 2012 the organization donated 10,000 pair to area school children. The year after (2013) the number grew to 35,000 before last year’s 75,000.

Weiss is also is a member of Houston’s Independent Police Oversight Board. The drive began in 2008 as a modest campaign to supply disadvantaged children with new undies before the start of the each school year.

The undiesforeveryone.org website reveals that a $120 donation buys undies for 25, $500 for 125 and $1,000 for 250. The organization gives out two pair at a time to each child it serves.