HARRY G. THOMPSON PAJAMA & UNDERWEAR PANTRY

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT     \     HARRY G. THOMPSON

When their friends lost everything in the California wildfires, Karen and Dave Thompson wanted to help. As founder of Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, Inc., Karen had access to undergarments and pajamas, and quickly assembled "care packages" containing essential clothing items needed by their friends. It was an "Aha!" moment for Karen when she realized her involvement with the clothing industry provided a perfect vehicle for gathering donated pajamas and underwear to be shared with disaster victims.

 

Thankfully, the Thompson’s' experience helping communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina prompted Karen to approach The Salvation Army about using its large scale emergency supplies distribution center to connect disaster victims with her clothing inventory. The Army responded warmly to Karen's vision, and the Harry G. Thompson Pajama & Underwear Pantry was launched in 2009.

 

The pantry is named in honor of Karen's late father-in-law, who never forgot The Salvation Army's kindness to his family as a child.

 

In the wake of a disaster, victims are often left with only the clothes on their backs, unable to launder what they are wearing, and lack the means to purchase replacements. While services are in place for food and clothing, the critical need for undergarments and pajamas is overlooked.  Through the Harry G. Thompson Pajama & Underwear Pantry, The Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services distribute pajamas and underwear to victims of fires, floods, and other disasters. "Through these care packages we can help people feel better and let them know someone is thinking of them," says Karen.

 

Thompson has launched two initiatives to help reach her goal of filling the pantry with 100,000 pairs of underwear and pajamas – meeting with pajama and underwear industry leaders to ask for donations and sponsors, and beginning a grassroots effort that enlists local businesses and community organizations to host collection bins for new pajama and underwear donations.