By Maddy Van Buskirk
The Period Project is a charitable donation project started by two of our very own students, Hunter Weston and Eliza Emerson. Hunter and Eliza partnered with the Salt lake City Homeless Shelter and Road Home to collect feminine hygiene products for homeless women close to home. Feeling clean and sanitary is a basic human right and for many homeless women when they get their menstrual period they don’t have access to the products that they so desperately need. The homeless shelter houses of 400 women at any given time, and over 2000 women annually so the need for pads is huge. If you are interested in donating a collection box will be placed at westlake very soon and you can contact Eliza or Hunter they will be more than happy to tell you more. Read the interview below for more info!
How did this problem come to your attention and what prompted you to take action?
Hunter took the lead on this and invited me to join her. But before I had heard of projects where people had sewn reusable pads to send off to third world countries. I know it is a huge issue in poorer places, girls often times have to stay home from school because they don’t have any feminine hygiene products. My grandma even worked on a project like this for a time. I loved the idea of this project, and what better way than to do it for those a little closer to home! I for one am super big on women’s rights. I would consider myself to be a feminist 110%. I believe the term feminism has been stretched to umbrella some odd things in past years, especially in the media. But the overall core message that women are equal and aren’t limited to what society/politics/pop culture deems a women should be is an outstanding message I believe everyone should get behind (:
How does the project work? how do you collect donations and actually get them to those that need them?
The plan for this project is to spread the word and involve as many people as possible! We have talked and coordinated with various friends who are reaching out and spreading the word in there neighborhoods and communities, and whoever wants to join is more than welcome too! We have various people set up to collect donations. Hunter and I can accept donations in whatever way is convenient(: We have bins at our houses were you can drop stuff off and are working on getting a bin in the school(: We are more than happy to pick up donations too. We can accept cash donations as well, and we make sure to send you a picture of what we are able to buy with it! (: At the end of November we will take all the donations we’ve received up to the road home in Salt Lake City
How did you partner with the road home? how do you help them specifically?
When Hunter was looking into doing the project I suggested she try the Road Home, I have been talking with them and plan on volunteering there in the near future and thought they would be a good fit. When hunter got in contact with then they were so excited to accept her donation because they could really use the help! Most people don’t think to donate feminine hygiene products but the need is HUGE.
Do you have a goal in mind of how many feminine hygiene products you want to collect?
As far as a goal goes the more the merrier! We would just like to get as much as possible!
Do you have a donation preference, pads or tampons? are there other things that can be donated (panty liners, wet wipes, etc.)?
The road home has specifically asked for pads, but we will accept donations of any kind, including things like wet wipes and underwear(:
can people make cash donations?
People are more than welcome to donate cash! We will make sure we let you know what we are able to buy with your donation.
Food stamps and Medicaid don’t have any programs that help low income or homeless women buy feminine hygiene products is that correct? why is a basic necessity so hard for women to get?
I think the biggest thing preventing women from getting the essential hygiene items they need is the taboo around periods. Periods aren’t typically considered something people can talk casually. Periods happen to every single women though and they are one of the bodies most natural cycles. It’s hard to spread the word and get people interested in an issue when the topic is kept to silent. This is absurd to me, and to most women I would imagine! But It’s an issues society has deemed uncomfortable or inappropriate to talk about and so I think it has easily slipped under the radar and little has been done to stop it.
If I want people to donate how can I spread the word and where can they bring the donations?
Tell you friends a family! If your interested in collecting donations we would be more than happy to give you a basket! Anyone is welcome to contact us and get more involved! Me and Hunter can both pick up donations and have them dropped off at our houses, and we are working on getting a bin at the school and you can always give me stuff in the halls!
Do you have a mission statement or a specific point you want people to be informed about?
We are just trying to help women in need! (: