By: CHRISTINA CLARK
Feminine hygiene products are in continuous need, and the Feminist Student Union (FSU) is seeking to lighten the burden for those in need at IU South Bend and at the Center for the Homeless.
The FSU will be collecting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until Nov 17, in Wiekamp Hall. Donations may also be dropped in a collection box in Wiekamp 2211.
This is the second drive for feminine hygiene products that the FSU has held.
“Last time we donated to St. Margaret’s House, however, with IUSB finally having a food pantry, we decided to donate to them, considering that they need more feminine hygiene products,” said Madison Hofferth, President of IUSB FSU. “The first time we did this, the response was large on behalf of the women’s and gender studies department, however, this time we are hoping to reach students and faculty in other departments as well to bring attention to this issue.”
The Center for the Homeless in South Bend’s website currently lists “women’s hygiene products” near the top of its “Critical Needs/Ongoing Needs” list.
“People tend to forget that feminine hygiene products are expensive and are not luxury items. People are in need of these products, and places such as homeless shelters and food pantries run low on these often,” said Hofferth. “We need to help the people in our community and elsewhere who can’t afford these products.”
“I say ‘people’ because it’s women as well as the trans-community as well,” Hofferth clarifies.
The FSU is looking for any and all donations of feminine hygiene products. Tampons, liners, cups—though expensive, they are reusable as well as a more eco-friendly option—and especially pads.
“Homeless women typically know where to find a safe place to sleep or a hot meal to eat, but when it comes to taking care of their feminine hygiene needs, they often have nowhere to turn. Tampons and sanitary pads usually top the list of needs at shelters, since they’re pricey and supporters don’t often donate them,” social workers told Al Jazeera in a 2015 Huffington Post piece by Eleanor Goldberg.
The article goes on to emphasize, “Compounding the issue is the fact that clean showers are also scarce, and not washing during menstruation can lead to infections.”
“Pads are the best to donate since some people, especially homeless persons, don’t know when the next time they would be able to have the privacy to change their products,” Hofferth said.