The Same Kits Project

My youngest daughter, Mina, and I, in 2014, did a project we called the Same Kits Project. We assembled kits of feminine hygiene products for homeless women. The idea was inspired by a group of students out of the University of Georgia who did the same. It’s an amazing idea that, to us, felt like an obvious and impactful way to help women in need.

Women are the same in many ways, but nothing more similar as that we all get our period. Mother Teresa got her period. Your mothers, wives, and daughters do or will get there period. There is enough shame around the subject no matter our means. With shame comes avoidance of a subject so when we talk about the hygiene needs of the homeless, the conversation is usually centered around accessibility to water, soap, toothpaste. We hardly ever talk about feminine hygiene product needs.

From an article in governing.com last April:
“Women who don’t have access to the proper materials have to resort to whatever is around — like socks and rags that aren’t clean — to absorb their flow and keep the rest of their clothes from getting soiled. Most women menstruate for between four and seven days. That kind of prolonged exposure to dirty and soiled items can lead to a vaginal infection, which experts say can suppress the reproductive tract’s natural defenses and weaken the immune system. That in turn can make a woman more vulnerable to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which is a cause of cervical cancer.”

Putting together these kits is practical, but also a fundamental need. We are excited to help. And so is our Strongwoman Society who will help assemble kits.

We held a product drive at my gym and collected:

  • tampons, all sizes
  • sanitary napkins, all sizes
  • travel-size hand sanitizer
  • travel-pack wipes
  • travel-size packets of Midol or Advil

We ended up collecting over 3,000 tampons, more pads that I remember, tons of hand sanitizers, wipes, and chocolate. We assembled 62 kits and gave many away on the streets, and most we donated to Sojourn (Domestic Violence Shelter) and to SPY, a teen homeless shelter in Venice.

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