Growing up my family didn’t always have what they needed in the moment they needed it. When my mom and my dad divorced my mom didn’t have her college degree and our options were limited. She eventually went back to school, got her undergrad and graduate degree, and is now a practicing therapist here in Lehi. However, in that moment of growing up, stuck in those thin places, it was hard. Balancing a household budget for three people, trying to figure out how to pay tuition and bills, needing to buy medication for your diabetic child, and then having enough left over to eat and buy school uniforms for your kids is hard. All of it is hard. So what do you do when all three people in your house have a period once a month? Go to the Walmart website and search “tampon” real quick. I can tell you right now that at Walmart a box of tampons can cost you between $5 - $35. I can also tell you that a 20 day supply of insulin is $35, provided that you have good insurance. We didn’t have good insurance.
So what do you do? What do you do when a basic hygiene product that three people in your house need cost the same as medication that will keep one of those people healthy? Do you honestly want to know? Well, first you get really good at layering toilet paper in your underwear. Second, you learn exactly how far you can push every tampon, pad, and panty liner before you have to put them back on the shopping list. Third, you overcome your shyness and learn to become ok asking your friends for what you need. Luckily for me and my family we had a support system. Wonderful people who loved and cared about my family and who were cheering us on from the sidelines. I am grateful everyday for them and how they changed my life. But what about those people who don’t have a support system? What about that family who is new and struggling in your community? What about that high school student who is also working a full time job to help pay the bills? What about those people who are homeless? What are their support systems when “that time of the month” rolls around?
enter the homeless period project
The Homeless Period Project is a group that is attempting to answer those questions with a solution. On their website their missions statement reads “We provide menstrual products to those in need while educating and advocating to end the stigma of menstruation.” In the first quarter of 2019 they donated over 800,000 period products and they are hoping to start 2020 off on the same foot. So what are they doing? What are they providing? Who are they educating? The main product that they are providing is something called a “period pack” which is a ziplock baggie filled with tampons, pads, pantie liners and wipes. They donate these to shelters, local schools, as well as to disaster relief organizations to give to those in need. One of the main problems, however, is the lack of education. Menstrual products are still one of the least donated items to shelters and a lack of sanitary products can be a huge hindrance to people who are looking for jobs, looking for housing, trying to stay in school, or who have only one set of clothing. On top of this some families still keep their children home from school when they are on their periods instead of buying menstrual products, not realizing what a disadvantage this puts their children at. The Homeless Period Project works with shelters, schools, and other organizations to provide education and support to communities in need.
what can you do?
So what can you do? You know what the problem is now and you’ve spent the time reading to the end of this article so I’m guessing you care enough to want to get involved. Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp is following the lead of Utah Douals & Company and helping raise donations for the Homeless Period Project. We are accepting donations of pads, tampons, panty liners, quart sized ziploc bags, and tall kitchen trash bags. The Utah Period Drive is accepting donations till February 14th, then we will be assembling the period packs and taking the packs to The Road Home and family shelter in Midvale on February 18th. If you can donate products, please do. If you want to give time, even better. Contact us or any of the lovely ladies at Doulas & Co. for more information on how to get involved in this worthy cause. Let's work together to “give dignity back, one period at a time.”