This is a sponsored post as part of my #TampaxAmbassador partnership with Tampax
Two years ago when Dana Marlowe was bra shopping, a mere four words sparked an idea that launched a global nonprofit that she runs out of her home in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. Dana had lost the weight gained after having her two boys (now ages 5 and 8) and was being fitted for new bras when she asked the salesperson if her old ones could be refurbished and donated. “Homeless women need bras,” the saleswoman told her.
Later that summer, Dana came across an article that talked about how bras and feminine hygiene products are luxuries for homeless women in Washington, D.C. Knowing that she wasn’t the only one who held on to old bras while wearing new ones, Dana started asking family and friends for used bras and new sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads to benefit women and girls in homeless shelters. Dana put her idea out on social media inviting friends to to go to their top dresser drawer, find bras they never wear, and let her donate them.
“And while you’re at it,” she said, “next time you’re at the pharmacy or grocery store and see a “buy one get one” for feminine hygiene products – pick up an extra package and toss it in the donation.” Dana said she asked her friends, who asked their friends, who asked their friends and that’s how Support the Girls was born.
Every day thousands of girls and women have to choose between a meal and buying feminine hygiene products. Any last remaining shreds of dignity are stripped away when women are forced to use unwashed rags, wads of rolled up toilet paper, and even cardboard during their periods. Being resourceful to use whatever is around that’s free and available is not how anyone should have to live.
Earlier this week I met Dana at her home which serves as a receiving center for large corporate donations and where envelopes and boxes full of bras, tampons, and pads sent by individuals from all over the country are stored before they go to organizations locally, around the country, and all over the world. One of her most recent acquisitions is almost 40, 000 Tampax tampons donated by Procter and Gamble’s as part of their Million Tampon Donation to women’s charities in honor of last month’s Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness around the challenges women and girls face during their menstrual cycles. The initiative also strives to educate on the role feminine hygiene plays in allowing women and girls to reach their full potential.
“Since you never know a person’s situation and most women have menstrual cycles, it’s natural they would need menstrual hygiene products,” Dana told me as we stood among boxes and boxes of Tampax stacked in her basement. “That was my inspiration. I was humbled and I wanted to make sure no woman could do without menstrual products or a bra at any point of need in her life. Dignity is dignity.”
The donation of 32,000 Tampax is larger than what she can fit in the guest room of her home. When the first two deliveries arrived, Dana and her family stacked boxes of Tampax almost to the ceiling in their living room before relocating the donation to their basement. Dana is currently waiting for the last shipment of Tampax tampons to be dropped in her driveway so she and volunteers of this grass roots organization can distribute them to underserved women so they don’t have to worry about access to menstrual hygiene supplies along with their living situation.
In the United States alone, 1 in 3 women are either living in poverty or on the brink of it, which can make it challenging to secure feminine hygiene products on a monthly basis. Without the proper protection, a woman’s monthly cycle can compromise her dignity and result in her missing work, skipping school, or sacrificing important things in her life. Dana knows through Support the Girls’ work with domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters around the country that underserved women sometimes have to make a choice between food and period protection.
“It’s widely recognized that women and girls in developing countries often lack access to menstrual hygiene products, but what most Americans don’t realize is that this is true in our own backyard,” said Amanda Hill, Marketing Director, North America Feminine Care at Procter & Gamble. “We believe that every woman and girl deserves access to feminine care products, and this donation is part of our continued efforts in supporting those in need.”
With a donation of one million tampons in 30 days, Tampax helps meet a critical need and encourages women to become catalysts for change like Dana has done by starting Support the Girls.
“A slip of a garment, bras are one of the many small luxuries that most women take for granted,” Dana shared. “But like underwear, pads, and tampons, they can be nearly impossible for homeless women to get. And if you don’t have these things, you think about it all the time.”
For additional information on Tampax, visit www.tampax.com. To learn how you can become involved in Dana Marlowe’s Support the Girls, visit the Support the Girls website where you can learn how to donate used or new bras or feminine hygiene products, how you can volunteer, contribute to the Crowdrise campaign that supports 42 North American affiliate chapters that work to provide items to homeless women across the country.
Disclosure: I am a #TampaxAmbassador and received compensation for my participation in the program.