Having a period is something that every woman encounters in their life time. For many women, purchasing menstrual products are apart of their grocery lists and monthly expenses.
These products are a necessity to keep up with our health and hygiene but in a sad reality, all women are not able to afford them. Often times homeless women go without menstrual products because they have to feed their child or themselves before even thinking about purchasing a pad or a tampon.
Chelsea VonChaz noticed this problem last February when she slowed down at a red light on her way to managing a wardrobe fitting for an independent film in Hollywood. As she approached the light, she witnessed a homeless woman crossing the street, wearing blood stained clothes. She later found out that pads and tampons are rarely donated to the homeless and are not considered a requirement to be included in any shelter’s operations budget and decided to do something about the issue.
“Being proactive, I emailed all my girlfriends saying, ‘This is what I saw today and it really changed me. I really want to do something about it. I’m not sure how I feel about this issue except the fact that it won’t leave my mind. Will you guys help me out?” – Chelsea Warner via Elite Daily
Chelsea and her mother, Cherryl Warner founded #HappyPeriod on February 8, 2015, in efforts to help alleviate the high cost of menstruation for homeless women. With the help of social media, Chelsea and her friends put on the first #HappyPeriod gathering to pass out kits in the Skidrow area of Downtown Los Angeles. The nonprofit became a movement in its first year, forming chapters in New York City, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
About once a month, women gather at the nonprofit’s nine chapters to collect donated menstrual products. Each individual kit has four tampons, five pads, two wipes, five panty liners, one soap, and one pair of underwear. The kits are bright yellow including a smiley face and the words #HappyPeriod printed on them. The kits are handed out on the street and delivered to homeless shelters as well.
“A lot of us don’t think about the fact that homeless people get their periods,” founder Chelsea VonChaz told The Huffington Post. “We all have periods ― but for some reason, we don’t think about it in terms of those less fortunate. This is a real issue of women’s rights.”
The #HappyPeriod team plans to continue their expansion and hopes to soon provide reusable menstrual cups for women in halfway houses. We salute Chelsea VonChaz and the whole #HappyPeriod team for their thoughtful charitable when it comes to this particular initiative.
If you would like more information on the non-profit head over to their website www.hashtaghappyperiod.com.