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After she began volunteering at the Buffalo City Mission, Nicole Eckert learned the organization was lacking a particular type of donation: new underwear.
So Eckert, a certified nursing assistant, is helping coordinate a collection effort to address the problem. Brothers of Mercy in Clarence is hosting a “Bloomers and Boxers” drive from today through Oct. 13 at the nursing and rehabilitation center, at 10570 Bergtold Road.
Donations may be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. at a collection box at the building’s entrance.
The drive will collect new underwear – preferably wrapped – for men, women and children in all sizes. The greatest need is for women’s underwear in sizes 5 to 10, Eckert said.
Eckert has worked at Brothers of Mercy for about two years and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University at Buffalo. One of her courses, public health nursing, promotes giving back to the community.
Eckert and several other UB nursing students are volunteering this semester at the City Mission, which sparked the idea for the collection drive. As they discovered, underwear is something most donors don’t think about giving.
“That’s one of their most needed items right now,” she said.
Aubrey Calhoun, director of Cornerstone Manor for the City Mission, praised the nursing students for taking on the task. Calhoun said when the public makes donations to help the homeless, their first thought is usually to give food or gently used clothing.
“Unfortunately, you cannot provide gently used underwear,” she said.
But new underwear, as well as new socks, are greatly in demand by people trying to survive on the streets, she said.
Calhoun said she hopes the efforts of the nursing students and Brothers of Mercy prompt other organizations to launch collection drives of their own to help the City Mission.

mglynn@buffnews.com