Help Homeless Women By Donating Pads & Tampons

A tough part of being homeless and female, besides the more obvious struggles of staying safe and fed, is how to handle your period. Al Jazeera America highlighted just how desperate that time of the month can be for homeless women when Maribel Guillet, who lives in a Bronx shelter, told the publication that her periods are typically very heavy and last about ten days, but that she can’t access shelter restrooms as often as she needs to stay clean. Guillet often needs to change her pads every 20 minutes, but shelter supervisors often restrict how often she can use the restroom.

When women do find access to showers and restrooms, they’re often faced with the risk of encountering sexual predators or theft as they try to wash, and shelters are perpetually short on the basics that get women through their periods. When donating toiletries, most people opt for staples like toothbrushes and toilet paper and don’t think to donate pads and tampons. The basic act of staying clean, a major key to feeling human while confronting the struggles of homelessness, requires a draining amount of resourcefulness for women who want to do so safely. Many resort to avoiding restrooms as much as possible by drinking less water and changing pads less often than they really need, which often leads to infections. Since menstruation is rarely talked about to begin with, these needs surrounding it go unnoticed. If you’d like to help ladies get through their periods with a little more dignity, considering supporting these organizations:

  • Distributing Dignity provides homeless women with bras, tampons and pads.
  • The Period Project was launched by University of Central Florida students to raises money to buy menstrual products for homeless women in the Orlando area.
  • Lava Mae provides clean, safe showers to homeless San Franciscoans.
  • Laundry Love washes the clothes of the homeless and impoverished for free.
  • Homeless shelters in your area are likely short on feminine products and in need of donations.

If you know of any great organizations doing similar work, let me know in the comments!

[Al Jazeera America]

[HuffPost]

[Image via Shutterstock]