Each month many individuals in our community must make a difficult decision, one that affects not only their hygiene, but more importantly, their dignity: can I afford menstrual hygiene products or is there some other need I must meet first? For many, the answer is the latter. Food, a bus pass, maybe an extra gallon of gas in the tank rises to the surface of needs that must be met before “splurging” on tampons or pads.
In 2015, I started a campaign called It’s the Holidays, Period in an effort to accomplish two things:
Get these products into the hands of those who need them most through partnership with local non-profits and
Raise awareness of a need that is so often overlooked in our community.
The goal was to collect 500 boxes of tampons and pads. But through the incredible support of the Nashville community (and far beyond), we were able to raise over $4,200 in just 37 days. More than 1,800 boxes were donated to the Nashville Rescue Mission, The Next Door and the YWCA.
Now in its second year, It’s the Holidays, Period, which runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, is nearing almost $6,000 in donations. Can we hit $6,000? Yes, we can. Can we hit $6,500? Absolutely.
But I need your help.
While this need does not magically go away once we hit a goal, it is a start—the start of a conversation in our community about hygiene and dignity; the start of ensuring better access to these products; the start of seeing ourselves in the lives of others. Will you be a part of the start?
These items, ones I took for granted prior to this initiative, are basic. They are necessary. They are also cost-prohibitive and are not covered by federal programs like SNAP or WIC. This year, your donations will go towards supporting the individuals served by Room In The Inn, Launch Pad and Renewal House. Each of these Nashville-based non-profits serves a different population of at-risk individuals including homeless adults, homeless youth and mothers seeking treatment from drug and alcohol addiction.
There are several ways to get involved:
Make a product donation at Vinnie Louise, a local clothing boutique with locations in 12 South (2309 12th S.) and East Nashville (737 Porter Rd.). Vinnie Louise is offering 10% off your entire purchase when you make a donation.
One box of tampons can be upwards of $5-$7. So any donation amount—even $5—makes a huge impact. No one should ever have to go without these very basic and very necessary items.
Thank you for considering supporting It’s the Holidays, Period. Learn more about the campaign.
— Kate Parrish