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Spill the secret: Donate imporant items for Haitian females

By Staff | Apr 14, 2011

Haitian girls don’t have access to specific undergarments most American females take for granted. Sanibel Island resident Bridgit Stone-Budd has taken on the cause by creating Jillian’s Secret. Stone-Budd is collecting female undergarments, hair accessories, tank tops and even flip flops for the impoverished Haitian females.

Inspired from her mission trips to Haiti, Bridgit Stone-Budd has created Jillian’s Secret.

What is the secret?

Haitian females don’t have a place like the famous lingerie store Victoria’s Secret to purchase undergarments. In the poverished island nation, young girls and women wear T-shirts without any undergraments.

“Instead of being overwhelmed with everything they need, I chose to collect these important garments,” said Stone-Budd about her charity named for a Haitian girl she and her husband Dan Budd are in the process of adopting.

In 2008, Stone-Budd and her husband were at a point in their lives where they decided to look into adoption. The couple had already integrated their respective groups of three (Bridgit and her teenagers Connor and Kate, Dan and his teenagers Eli and Mariah) into a blended family in 2007.

“When we got married, we knew we wanted more babies,” explained Stone-Budd. “But it wasn’t in the cards, so we decided to look into adoption.”

The couple wanted to adopt a boy and girl, preferably siblings, because they felt it was a natural fit. After working tirelessly on their dossier — a massive and complex compilation of documents detailing everything about the lives of the Stone-Budd family — the application was lost in Haiti’s devasting earthquake last year.

“So, we resubmitted the application and started from scratch,” said Stone-Budd.

The quake also caused the Haitian government to put a ban on adoption. But fate intervened and while her husband was on a mission trip there, the ban was lifted. For the first time, he met 1-year-old Jillian and her 3-year-old brother Rosemond. Since the, the entire clan has met their future family members.

However, the happily-ever-after ending hasn’t arrived just yet for the Stone-Budd clan. They are still waiting for the siblings to arrive in the United States, pending more documentation. However, Stone-Budd is trying to do all she can for the people who have nearly nothing.

Since she began collecting the undergarments a month ago, Stone-Budd has received a great response from the community.

“I have had so many people drop off donations already,” she said. “The local community has been very generous.”

Stone-Budd and her husband will be delivering the items in person to the H.I.S. Home for Children in Port-Au-Prince and Mary Austin School in Haute St. Marc, which is about two hours north of Port-Au-Prince. In 2009, Dan returned to Haiti with a group from Sanibel Community Church to work on a building for the Mary Austin School, and the cargo container filled with supplies was held up at customs. Although it was eventually released, the couple has decided to not take any risks.

“We will continue taking trips to Haiti and taking items personally to the orphanage and school,” said Stone-Budd. “Everything will be hand delivered.”

Jillian’s Secret is an open-ended charity with no deadline to make a donation. Anyone wishing to donate items, such as flip flops, hair accessories, tank tops or any “womenly” item, can do so anytime. Stone-Budd will accept donations at The Islands of Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, 1159 Causeway Road, where she works. The chamber’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.