By Emily Williams
Over the course of the pandemic, Brenda Meadows, owner of the Lingerie Shoppe in Mountain Brook Village, and her staff have been packing bags of intimates to provide local health care workers with a bit of comfort.
Through The Comfort Project, the store has assembled and donated more than 210 gift bags to health care workers at UAB Hospital who have worked in the COVID-19 unit.
Inspiration for the project came from Meadows’ membership in Curve, a bi-annual swimsuit and intimates market held in New York City.
As the coronavirus outbreak caused shops throughout the nation to close, Curve began hosting online webinars to support retailers such as Meadows.
“It became an arena for a lot of information and also a lot of sharing with shops all over the country and in Canada,” she said.
It was during one of these webinars that she heard from Larisa Olson, who owns the lingerie shop Chantilly Lace in Illinois. Olson spoke about The Comfort Project, a project she created that provides bags filled with intimates to local health care workers.
Making the Most of a Bad Situation
Meadows was looking toward the future Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce Market Day, an annual sale in Mountain Brook Village that typically draws a crowd. She knew she would have lower numbers at this year’s event, yet she had a backroom filled with items to be marked down.
“I realized I could take some of that merchandise I would put on sale under normal circumstances and put it into this project,” Meadows said.
She began working on her own iteration of The Comfort Project in April, reaching out to some of her vendors to see if they would be willing to contribute in some way.
“I approached it with the understanding that what I invested in it I would not recoup,” she said.
Meadows said her staff members were thrilled with the idea and helped launch a social media campaign to reach out to the community for assistance. A $50 donation from a community member would sponsor a bag, helping cover a small portion of its cost.
While working on the project in June, Meadows also was spending time in the hospital with her late husband, Roger. While hospitalized at UAB, he was treated on two floors whose nurses would become the beneficiaries of The Comfort Project donations.
“I got to talking with many of the nurses and they informed me that they had worked with COVID-19 patients,” Meadows said.
Nurses shared stories of their hardships and heartbreaks while caring for coronavirus patients. Listening to their stories brought a new meaning to the project.
In early July, Meadows and her team delivered 215 bags – for both male and female nurses – to UAB. Each comfort bag was packed with up to $150 worth of items, some even higher.
Men’s bags included Saxx underwear or silk boxers, a pair of socks donated by the Fort Payne-based company Zkano, and both sleep pants and a sleep shirt.
Women’s bags include a nightgown or pajama set, silk panties that Meadows notes are incredibly soft as well as a gift certificate for 20% off a bra with a fitting.
“Hopefully, this can provide them a little bit of comfort at the end of their shifts,” Meadows said.
“This was a project to help shops survive, as well as doing something for the healthcare workers that would be meaningful to them.”
While the bags have been delivered, Meadows added that less than half of them were sponsored by a community donation. Those who wish to contribute to the project still have the opportunity.
For more information, visit The Lingerie Shoppe of Mountain Brook Village Facebook page.