Why we’ll never get over undies

Undies should only ever be a barrier when they’re between you and your clothes.

They should never be a barrier to cleanliness, to confidence, or to achieving big dreams. Their absence should never be a cause for distraction or shame, or an inhibitor to success. For too many in our midst, this is still not the reality.

55% of children who did not have underwear to wear wanted to skip school or refused to go to school because he or she was embarrassed.

By working to ensure that all children have access to the daily dignity of clean underwear, we promote the conditions for success every kid deserves—from basic hygiene and better graduation rates to brighter outlooks about themselves and the world around them.

Undies are often easy to overlook, but we believe these little layers can lead to greatness.

A brief history

Undies for Everyone (UFE) was founded in 2012 after a social worker shared with Rabbi Amy Weiss that there was a serious need for new underwear for disadvantaged children. As a blogger for the Houston Chronicle, Rabbi Weiss recognized the need and Undies for Everyone was born.

2012 | 9,000 PAIR

Founding Undies for Everyone

In its first official year of operation, UFE’s staff of one delivered its product directly to the Houston Independent School District. The underwear was hand-sorted by size and packaged two pairs to a bag.  The enthusiastic elementary and middle school administrators were thrilled to deliver the items into the hands of students.

2012 | 9,000 PAIR
2013 | 33,000 pair

Adding Direct Distribution

In 2013, Undies raised more dollars, packed more undies, and added its first direct distribution at the Houston’s Mayor’s Back 2 School event, which provides school supplies and services to underprivileged students in the metro area.

2013 | 33,000 pair
2014 | 75,000 pair

Strategic Planning

Through the vision of the second Board Chair, Jim Grace, Undies set bold but reachable goals in 2014. Three-to-a-bag was born when Undies committed to adding one pair of underwear per bag each year until the bags held five pair — enough for a full week of school.

UFE also devoted itself to reaching more children by identifying social service agencies to use as local distribution points. One board member led UFE to the Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddies program. Another was instrumental in making a connection to the Houston Area Women’s Center, and another discovered the need within Harris County Child Protective Services’ (CPS) Be A Resource For Kids (BEAR) program. These programs complemented school distribution, which by this time were generally dispensed to students through school nurses.

2014 | 75,000 pair
2015 | 128,000 pair

Distribution Growth

Growing steadily, UFE again extended its reach in Houston. Five social service agencies were distribution points for four-packs of underwear. The primary way to reach kids, however, remained the public school system. Area districts with greater than 50% economically disadvantaged students qualified for help, and in 2015 UFE had the capacity to aid seven such districts.

2015 | 128,000 pair
2016 | 180,000 pair

A “Week’s Share” of Underwear

Undies leadership reaches a long-held goal: disadvantaged students are given five pair of underwear per bag. Also notable, school nurses throughout 16 Houston districts are receiving annual boxes with 150 pairs of underwear, carefully packaged and rolled by volunteers and distributed at the start of the school year.

2016 | 180,000 pair
2017 | 1,000,000+ pair

Disaster Relief

Ever agile, UFE temporarily pivoted to add Disaster Relief to its agenda in September 2017. Following its back-to-school distribution of 260,000 pairs, UFE felt the call to serve a new way in the wake of the devastating Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma. UFE processed and distributed over 1.4 million pairs of Disaster Relief underwear to affected men women and children in four months’ time.

2017 | 1,000,000+ pair
2018 | 266,625 pair

Geographic Growth

Following the difficult but rewarding activity of the previous year, staffing was increased to 2 full-time and 5 part-time team members. Dallas became a distribution point, and planning began for expansion into additional Texas cities.

2018 | 266,625 pair
2019 | 403,625 pair

An Updated Look

In 2019, UFE programs delivered dignity to 1,600 Texas elementary and middle schools through School Nurse Emergency Underwear Program, Back-to-School Events provided 5 pairs directly to disadvantaged students, and Nonprofit Partner Distributions were sent to 34,000 clients of social service organizations.

2019 | 403,625 pair
2020 | 524,573 pair

COVID Shift

In 2020, UFE pivoted to serve…

2020 | 524,573 pair
2021 | 738,500 pair

National Expansion

Undies for Everyone expanded to 15 cities in 9 states. In 2021, over 100,000 students across the United States will each receive 7 pairs of undies, a week’s share. That’s 715,000 pairs of undies! We couldn’t do it without you!

2021 | 738,500 pair

“Every contribution helps me serve these children in moments of need, helping them feel clean and comfortable, ready to learn, and good about themselves.”

– Laura Williams, Nurse

Our Team

Rabbi Amy Weiss

FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

aweiss@undiesforeveryone.org
713.338.9676 ext. 4

Julie Hayon

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & OPERATIONS

jhayon@undiesforeveryone.org
713.338.9676 ext. 3

Micki Bronston

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

mbronston@undiesforeveryone.org
713.338.9676 ext. 2

Andrea Pogach

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

Shawna Hayes

DIRECTOR OF ENGAGEMENT

shayes@undiesforeveryone.org
713.338.9676 ext. 5

Skyler

OFFICE DOG

Obie

OFFICE DOG

Luna

OFFICE DOG

Board of Directors

Board Chair

Barry Mandel

President, Discovery Green Conservancy

Vice-Chair

Lisset Garza

Shell Energy North America, Retired

TREASURER

Eduardo Rios

The Transforming Autism Project, Finance Manager

Dominique D. Calhoun

Calhoun, Meredith & Sims, PLLC, Partner

Jim Grace

Grace McEwan Consultants, Managing Shareholder

Gwen Johnson

Houston ISD, Director of Health Services, Retired

Stephanie Magers

Chevron, Administrative Manager

Sanghamitra Misra, MD

Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program, Medical Director

Mark Parsons

NRG, VP and General Manager

Cyndy Garza Roberts

Comcast Community Affairs, Director

Megan Ryan

Community Volunteer

Kim Stinebaker

Dancie Perugini Ware Public Relations, Account Director

Evan Wildstein

Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Development Director

Advisory Board

Dr. Brené Brown

Professor, University of Houston

Ron Coben

CEO, Pioneer Bank

Jamie Kaplan

Senior Director, Consumer Technology Association

Anne Murphy

Director of Development, GCPP

Mimi Swartz

Executive Editor, Texas Monthly

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