Periods can be a real hassle, especially when you know you’re on your last tampon or pad. Running to the store on your period for more? Awful. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But for people without easy access to menstrual products, that frustration and fear is their life all the time. The stigma surrounding periods often means this issue gets put on the back burner in favor of “real problems,” even though poor menstrual health and usage of substitutes—dirty rags, toilet paper—is a serious health risk for people with few pad/tampon alternatives.
Photo: Josefin on Unsplash
Safe, healthy access to hygiene products is a necessity of human life, and these seven organizations are working to ensure that homeless women who need menstrual products get them. If you’re open to donating, supporting any one of these groups would go a long way towards helping people stay safe and healthy while on their period.
#TheHomelessPeriod is a UK-based campaign fighting for distribution of tampons and towels in homeless shelters. Their petition for tampons, like condoms, to be provided by the government reached its signing goal and was raised in Parliament. Find out more about #TheHomelessPeriod here.
Support the Girls is a nonprofit that works to provide bras and menstrual products for homeless people across North America. They believe no one should have to choose between personal health and food. You can donate, volunteer, or find out where to mail bras and menstrual products if you want to help out.
Period. The Menstrual Movement is a nonprofit founded originally by two high schoolers who wanted to make a difference. They deliver period packages to women who need them, spread awareness about menstrual health, lobby against the tampon tax, and work to decrease the period stigma. Learn more about Period. here, donate here, or find a local chapter you can be a part of here.
#HappyPeriod is a foundation working to eliminate the stigma surrounding periods and get menstrual products to the homeless people that need them desperately. You can find out more about #HappyPeriod here, or make a donation.
Pads4Girls was founded by LunaPads, a Canadian menstrual product company. Since 2000, Pads4Girls has funded educational, menstrual health, and reproductive health outreach in the Global South. They also have a buy one, give one model that you can find more about here. You can also donate.
Days for Girls is an international nonprofit organization working to provide people with periods easy access to hygiene products and health education. They’re also working to address other issues like gender inequality, clean water and sanitation, and education. You can find a local chapter to volunteer with Days for Girls or donate to support their work.
Freedom4Girls is a campaign focused on getting menstrual products and health education to people across the world who need it. You can learn more about them and donate on their GoFundMe page.
Bonus: Your local homeless & domestic violence shelter! Do a quick Google search to find places in your area that are in need of menstrual products, or check out this directory of homeless shelters.
Life is already hard enough, but it’s harder when you don’t have a stable place to live or a steady source of income. Menstrual health is one of those aspects of life that doesn’t seem to be a big deal until you don’t know where your next supply of personal hygiene products is going to come from: if it ever comes at all. But by supporting any one of these organizations or a shelter in your community, you can make a difference and lend a helping hand to folks who really need it.
Lilia Taylor is 21 years old, studying English and Marketing at New Mexico State University. She hopes to have a job involving books someday, loves the smell of coffee (not so much the taste) and tries to get outside whenever she can.