CLARK, NJ - When asked to help those in need, many are quick to fill a bag with canned goods, gather the kids' outgrown clothes, or perhaps assemble a box of shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. While all of those items are needed and appreciated, many don't realize that some of the most basic, everyday necessities are among the least donated.

Often overlooked in the quest to provide for the needy, new bras and feminine hygiene products are among the items that can bring a sense of dignity to women. From that idea, MardiBRA was born.

Aiming to bring the community together while helping satisfy the need for these necessities, One Kind Step, a Rahway-based charity, has partnered with Distributing Dignity to host a Mardi Gras-themed night out for a good cause—collecting bras for women who cannot afford them. Distributing Dignity’s sole mission is to provide new bras and feminine hygiene products to women in need.

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Now in its second year, MardiBRA will be held on Saturday, March 11, from 7 p.m. until midnight at the Knights of Columbus of Clark at 27 Westfield Avenue. Featuring music, food and drink, games, raffles and prize giveaways, as well as a cash bar with drink specials, the event’s goal is to collect bras for needy women and girls. Cost of admission is a new bra or a donation of $10.

Erika Blaszak, founder and president of One Kind Step, says her all-volunteer organization’s goal is “to inspire communities to come together and help the less fortunate. Hopefully, people will learn a bit by gathering there for a good cause.”

She encourages MardiBRA guests to don masks and dress in traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, yellow and green.

Last year, MardiBRA revelers donated 300 brand-new bras, which were given by Distributing Dignity to needy women and girls served by homeless and domestic violence shelters, youth services, the foster care system and others in similar circumstances. Blaszak hopes this year’s event will allow One Kind Step to make an even larger donation to Distributing Dignity.

“We’re changing the world one kind step at a time,” she said.

Clark UNICO supports One Kind Step and encourages residents to come out and enjoy some Mardi Gras fun while helping provide a sense of dignity to women in need.

“UNICO is a service organization, and we support all of One Kind Step’s community service projects, including this great event,” Clark UNICO president Ralph Bernardo said

For further information about MardiBRA and One Kind Step, visit One Kind Step’s Facebook page or www.onekindstepnj.org, email onekindstep@gmail.com, or call (908) 397-3117.

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