05/29/2015 04:52 EDT | Updated 05/29/2016 05:59 EDT

Supportive Start lingerie show boosts bra donations for Vancouver women

A lingerie fashion show in Langley, B.C. this Friday will be raising money for Supportive Start, a charitable initiative providing new and gently used bras, new undergarments, and toiletries to women living in poverty.

Founder Sonya Perkins collects bra donations at her Forever Yours Lingerie store in Langley, and redistributes them by hosting bra fit clinics in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"There are a lot of women in our community who don't have access to bras and panties, things that are expensive for everybody. If you're in a lower income bracket, it's very difficult to access, and these are not items people typically donate," she said.

Perkins says many organizations in the Lower Mainland hand out clothes for people in need, but few provide the items that go underneath the clothes.

Friday's fashion show, called "A Night at the Carnival", is the second annual fundraiser for Supportive Start. Perkins hopes her initiative will help boost the confidence of Downtown Eastside women.

"If you're wearing a bra that doesn't fit well, it's very uncomfortable, especially if you're trying to get back in the workforce. We really want to make a difference to the women who can't access [these items]."

'My gratitude overflows'

Brenda Grealis, who lives at the Rainier Hotel for addicted and marginalized women in the Downtown Eastside, says Supportive Start made a difference to her.

Grealis says she's appreciative of the effort being put in to supporting women, after a bra fit clinic was held at the hotel earlier this week.

"One of the last things I would buy is a new bra. To have something absolutely new is beautiful."

"As a recovering drug addict, weight changes all the time. I'm pretty stable right now, so I know I can actually get a bra that works for a while! My gratitude overflows."

"A Night at the Carnival" lingerie fashion show will take place at Cascades Casino at 8 p.m. PT on Friday in Langley, B.C. It is a 19+ event. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available at:

To hear the full interview, listen to the interview labelled Boosting confidence...from the inside out.