Dealing with a monthly period is something many women take for granted, ducking to the shop for last minute supplies and continuing with everyday life.
But it is a different experience for homeless and at-risk women who may have to make the choice between buying sanitary items or feeding their family.
Makeshift pads of wadded up toilet paper, newspaper or socks, and using public restrooms in an attempt to remain clean may be the only way for women in need to deal with their period.
Food is Free Laneway has partnered with Share the Dignity collecting donations of sanitary items to provide dignity for women in need, with the belief that sanitary items are a right not a privilege.
Ballarat residents are encouraged to donate pads and tampons throughout April to collection points at Food is Free Laneway, Fernwood Ballarat, Curves Wendouree, and St John of God Hospital.
All donated items are delivered to a Ballarat charity, including Berry Street, Child and Family Services, WRISC, the shower bus and the soup bus.
Ballarat Share the Dignity volunteer Andrea Whimpenny she was shocked to hear some young women took time of school because they don’t have the ability to access sanitary items.
“Another example might be if a woman found herself homeless overnight for any reasons or from domestic violence, she might have three kids with her sleeping in the car,” she said.
This is a normal bodily function. Everyone should have access to supplies.Andrea Whimpenny, Share the Dignity volunteer
Food is Free Laneway committee member Kerry Hartman said the idea of dignity and access to basic human rights for all was what Food is Free was all about.
“Sanitary pads are so expensive. It is so important for anyone in need to be able to access them.”
On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless; 44 per cent are female, 27 per cent are children under the age of 18. Family violence is the number one reason people present to homeless services, with 55 per cent of females citing this reason.
Contact Ballarat Share the Dignity volunteer Andrea Whimpenny on 0447 622 377 for more information or to arrange to drop off large donations of items.
Visit https://www.sharethedignity.com.au/ for details.