Local charity celebrates MardiBra in Clark

Photo by Jennifer Rubino
TAKING ONE KIND STEP — Christina Hoenings, Julia Fioravante and Alexa Trani of Clark were in charge of MardiBra Pong at the One Kind Step fundraiser.

CLARK, NJ — One Kind Step held its second MardiBra event on Saturday, March 11, at the Knights of Columbus in Clark. Residents were required to bring a bra or money to donate upon arrival and were offered a night of fun, games and food for their generosity.

“My daughter Erika started One Kind Step two years ago,” Valerie Trani of Rahway told LocalSource at the event. “This is the second year we’ve had this event. We have MardiBra Pong where residents can win tickets for a door prize. When they arrive, we give them a clothespin to hang a bra on the wall, if they brought one to donate. We also have MardiBra ring toss, food that was donated or prepared by myself or friends, beer pong, selfie corner and MardiBra Drinko. The event is back by popular demand. The bras will be donated to Distributing Dignity, who will distribute them to women in need throughout the state of New Jersey.”

Erika Trani, who is only 29 years old, was inspired to create the organization two years ago after the passing of her grandmother.

“Distributing Dignity is a great organization that provides products to women in need,” Erika Trani of Rahway told LocalSource at the event. “I started One Kind Step two years ago after my grandma passed to carry on her spirit. It was my way of dealing with the situation. We focus on getting the community involved in making positive change. We just want people to have a good time and give to a good cause. Last year we collected about 300 bras and we’re hoping to collect more this year.”

Everyone at the event seemed to be enjoying themselves as they played games and enjoyed the illusionist while indulging in food and drinks.

“I came to the event last year,” Carley Benesh of Clark told LocalSource in an interview at the event. “I came back again mostly because the people were super awesome.”

Families came to the event to enjoy some time together and contribute to a good cause.

“I liked the ring toss because we won gift cards and scratch off tickets,” Samantha Miller of Rahway told LocalSource. “We donated a total of 10 bras together as a family.”

Residents shared their admiration for Erika and her giving nature. Many people also volunteered to help her in any way they could.

“I come out for anything Erika does,” Tammy Johnson of Rahway told LocalSource. “She’s an amazing, giving person. I made the MardiBra Pong game. My bras are being recycled for fun! I’m a creative person so I volunteered to make it. I played the ring toss and won a bottle opener. This is the best event she throws because I can’t imagine being so destitute to be without a bra. I feel naked without my bra. My friend hates them, but I hope all women can have a bra to wear. Distributing Dignity should come out to see all the people donating. Erika’s the best!”

One Kind Step’s next event will take place on May 20 and will benefit foster children in New Jersey. The name of the event is A Night at the Races. Details and updates will be available at the organization’s website, onekindstepnj.org.