Nancy Blount, affiliate leader of I Support the Girls (ISTG) – Tampa Bay, is the recipient of a 2023 Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and a $10,000 grant.
Nancy was introduced to the nonprofit when her husband saw an episode of Returning the Favor featuring Dana Marlowe, founder of I Support the Girls. “I knew there was a need for basic essential items in the Tampa Bay area,” said Nancy, “so I contacted the organization to learn more about the organization and how I could get involved.”
I Support the Girls is an international organization that collects and distributes essential items, including bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products for women/girls in need. Each affiliate determines how the items are collected and distributed in their community.
“ISTG – Tampa Bay serves three Florida counties (Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco) that have an average homeless population of 4,000 individuals on any given night – 30% (1,200) are women,” shared Nancy.
Since starting in 2019, ISTG – Tampa Bay has donated 414,300 menstrual hygiene products, 27,000 bras, 15,000 pairs of underwear, and 53,700 other items to 225 organizations serving women and girls who are impoverished or in distress in their community. “Schools, domestic violence shelters, group homes, clothing closets for foster families, detention centers, and safe houses all request and receive products,” said Nancy. “We also donate products to migrant farmworkers outside of the Tampa Bay area and most recently to victims of Hurricane Ian.”
ISTG relies solely on the community for product donations. As the need continues to grow, there are times when they must start a waiting list due to insufficient resources. The Nation of Neighbors grant will allow the organization to purchase products and fill in the gaps when supply is low.
“This grant will help us supply women and girls with properly fitting undergarments and menstrual hygiene items promoting an ‘I am worthy and I’ve got this’ attitude,” said Nancy.
“My work with overlooked populations is incredibly important to me,” added Nancy. “My ultimate dream is to know that as long as there is a need, I Support the Girls – Tampa Bay will be there to fulfill it.”