April 16, 2021 – “I know that it might make you blush a little bit, but they’re one of the things we don’t realize ‘oh wow that’s really a need’,” said Jessica Stump, the intake coordinator for Jill’s Place.

Jill’s Place is a faith-based residential program in Lee County, operated through the nonprofit St. Matthew’s House. It’s located in Alva and can house up to 23 women at a time. They have a constant need for undergarments and hygiene products.  She’s not the only one who goes there with nothing but the clothes on her back.  “A lot of us come here with nothing but just our physical self and the baggage that we bring with us,” said Erin Bergdahl, who is also in recovery at Jill’s Place.The good news is that, thanks to the community, Jill’s Place is stocked.  “People donate clothes, bras, and underwear, socks even,” Bergdahl said.    Jill’s Place just got a big donation from Dillard’s. The company donated brand new bras for all 23 living at the retreat.  “Those simple things, that little inch, will take us an extra mile and it’s a beautiful thing,” Bergdahl said.

Having those necessities helps the women at Jill’s Place look good, feel good and feel ready to participate in all the different things the program has to offer.  “I have so much hope for what I’m going to give back to my community. I can’t wait to get back to my community and just give them what St. Matthew’s House has given to me,” Koenes said.

The bra donations might seem small, but they’re a big part of the process, which is why St. Matthew’s House is always asking for donations for women, men and children.

“For people like me, it’s bringing me somewhere in life. I can put one foot in front of the other and I can be a better member of society and become a better mother and a better daughter and a better sister just by what you had in your closet, what you didn’t wear anymore,” Koenes said.

There’s a big need for undergarments, clothing and hygiene items all across Southwest Florida., especially with the opiate crisis and homelessness at an all-time high.


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