Community donations of pads and tampons in Ballarat is giving women experiencing homelessness, family violence and financial crisis access to the essentials to manage their period with dignity.
Local volunteers for Australia-wide women's charity Share the Dignity are preparing to launch an August collective drive of pads and tampons to be distributed to 30 charities around Ballarat and the region.
Community members are encouraged to donate packets of pads and tampons to collection points around Ballarat in an effort to collect more than 2000 products to top up charity supplies until April next year.
Not-for-profit Ballarat organisation WRISC Family Violence Support will receive donations from Share the Dignity from the August drive to supply to women in crisis experiencing financial pressure.
The time has come for change in how we look at periods and menstruation in general.Andrea Whimpenny, Share the Dignity
WRISC project officer Alison (she asked for her surname not to be revealed) said women experiencing family violence may not have sanitary products in crisis situations and may not be able to afford them under extreme financial pressure.
"Some women have daughters as well so there may be a number of women in the family requiring these products every month. It is quite a financial burden on people who are already under financial stress," she said.
"Share the Dignity is encouraging a community response that brings out into the community the issues of family violence. We are thankful we have access to these products for our clients. These products are an absolutely necessary health item."
More than 4500 sanitary products have been collected in Ballarat through Share the Dignity during the past three years and distributed to Ballarat charities.
Community collective drives for pads and tampons are held in April and August, while the It's In the Bag campaign, a collection of handbags filled with personal care products, runs in November.
Share the Dignity regional queen Grampians/Pyrenees Andrea Whimpenny said demand for donations of pads and tampons in Ballarat was increasing.
"It shouldn't be a case of 'what can I afford to buy, food or tampons'. Every woman should have access to pads and tampons, not just those who can afford them," she said.
"The time has come for change in how we look at periods and menstruation in general. The time has come where we have got to stop the stigma of menstruation.
"Share the Dignity is an education process as well. We are all working to bring the importance of menstruation to the general public. It is like we have come out of the closet and women are now free to talk about their body because menstruation is such a huge part of what a woman is."
Community members can donate new and unopened packets of sanitary items - pads, tampons, menstrual cups and incontinence aids to drop off points around Ballarat throughout August.
Pink box collection points are located at all Woolworths stores, all UFS Pharmacies, Fernwood Ballarat, Food is Free Laneway and Curves Ballarat.
Donations are distributed to Ballarat charities including CAFS, WRISC Family Violence Support, the Salvation Army, Berry Street, the shower bus and the soup bus.
Visit sharethedignity.com.au for more information.
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