Two Nonprofits Launch Feminine Hygiene Campaign SanTan Sun News

Two Nonprofits Launch Feminine Hygiene Campaign

Two Nonprofits Launch Feminine Hygiene Campaign
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By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Two local nonprofits are teaming up to provide financially struggling girls and women with feminine hygiene products – items crucial to help them go to school and work and stay healthy.

Clothes Cabin, part of Chandler nonprofit One Small Step, is partnering with Go With the Flow to hold a packing party at 9 a.m. Jan. 27 in the Clothes Cabin headquarters in Chandler.

Volunteers will put tampons, pads, panty liners and other items in bags that will go to those in need. The menstrual hygiene products will primarily go to girls ages 18 and younger, as well as unsheltered or homeless women seeking assistance.

Clothes Cabin provides free clothes, household items and hygiene products to men, women and children three days a week at its storefront at 1100 N. Alma School Road. Recipients also get pairs of new socks and underwear every time they visit.

Go With the Flow, based in Phoenix, will provide the feminine hygiene products about once a quarter to Clothes Cabin, according to Amanda Nosbisch, executive director of Clothes Cabin.

Demetra Presley founded Go With the Flow in 2017 after discovering nearly one in five American girls either left school or missed classes altogether because they did not have the feminine hygiene supplies during their period.

“It’s stunning that that is the number of students that end up missing school,” Presley said.

A full-time probation officer, Presley said a mutual friend connected her and Nosbisch as she thought “it would be a really good collaboration” between Go With the Flow and Clothes Cabin.

Go with the Flow also provides feminine hygiene products to many schools in Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Buckeye and Glendale.

Social service and nonprofit organizations including A New Leaf, a Mesa nonprofit that helps people in crisis, have also received Go with the Flow’s donations.

“We’re really going to meet an unmet need,” Presley said. “In work we’ve done in donating to homeless shelters, food banks and domestic violence (shelters), the answer is always, ‘yes,’ they aren’t able to necessarily provide or meet the need as readily as they are being requested to. They just don’t have the supply of donations.”

Nosbisch is thrilled to get the support. She said she and Presley had both watched a documentary about homeless women who shared “tips and tricks” for making their own products because they could not afford to buy legitimate hygiene items.

In the documentary, doctors talked about how “unsanitary and dangerous” it is to insert items not created for the “purpose of feminine hygiene into their own body,” Nosbisch said.

”It’s so appreciated by our clients,” Nosbisch said. “We know that Go With the Flow’s donation to us will be fantastically received.

“The whole impetus for Demetra, all (the) research shows girls staying home from school because they don’t have the products they need to feel secure walking around school. You can only imagine that same kind of thing could happen to lower-income women in jobs. Whenever we are able to distribute them, we do hear positive comments and appreciation and surprise.”

She said whenever a family with a daughter between 12 and 18 years checks out with their clothes and other donations at Clothes Cabin, they will be asked if the daughter has the feminine hygiene products she needs.

Homeless women will also be asked if they need these items. Donations of soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, nail clippers and other hygiene items are frequently donated to Clothes Cabin and given to people in plastic baggies.

The fact that Go With the Flow provides donations of different styles of period supplies and enough to last through a whole menstrual cycle is “very thoughtful,” Nosbisch said.

Last year Go with the Flow donated 38,364 pads, 26,814 tampons and 8,390 pantyliners to those in need at schools and through social service organizations, Presley said.

From January to May of 2018, it donated more than 3,000 period packs to schools and the same amount from August to December of last year. Each pack has a combination of 10 pads and tampons and pantyliners.

“We have a wide range of volunteers and volunteer opportunities,” Presley said. “That’s something that has also been amazing. Once people found out about it, there’s so many people that wanted to help ensure that a student does not have this experience of not being able to attend school or attend class just because they don’t have a pad or tampon with them that day.”

She said schools often try to help students who cannot afford to buy feminine hygiene products, but they often do not have enough funds to cover everything.

“That’s really been the common theme across the board is that while some schools do a lot for period products in their budget, the budget doesn’t meet the demand,” Presley said, adding:

“A lot of times schools are paying out of their own pocket to be able to provide pads and tampons. It’s amazing because that shows the dedication and the support that a lot of the school employees have to their students (but) that should not be happening; we should be able to provide that resource to students.”

Clothes Cabin and Go With the Flow will bring volunteers to the packing party at 9 a.m. on Jan. 27.

Besides offering clothes and hygiene products, Clothes Cabin also gives homeless people a spot where they can receive mail, weekly laundry service at no cost, free storage lockers and donations of steel-toed boots and non-slip work shoes.

Service-based job clothes including white-collar, button-down shirts and black pants, as well as scrubs, are also donated to those in need.

Friends started the Clothes Cabin services in 2001 by giving socks to agencies that helped poor people, but One Small Step officially became a nonprofit organization in 2009.

“It’s exciting to see Demetra’s project really grow as it is and it’s exciting to be able to support one another,” Nosbisch said.

Clothes Cabin is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for donations. Anyone who wants to participate in the packing party on Jan. 27 may contact info@clothescabin.org.

Information: gowiththeflowaz.com, clothescabin.org

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