Throughout the year, many charities and organizations accept donations or host donation drives for various items. Menstrual products are items that are necessary but often forgotten about when making donations to various organizations. In order to fill this gap in donations, the Southeast Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women (SEK NOW) is currently collecting menstrual products throughout the month of February for its fourth annual drive.
“We looked into it to see if there was a need in the area for it, and it turns out there is,” said SEK NOW board member Deborah McGeorge. “When people make donations… they often don’t think about pads and tampons. They’ll buy food staples and that sort of thing. Once we looked into look and saw there would be a need in the area, we decided that was something that we could do.”
Donations can be dropped off throughout February at Looking Glass Salon, 106 W 6th St, and TOAST, 401 N Broadway Suite D (entrance on 4th St).
Additionally, SEK NOW members will be collecting donations in front of Walmart Neighborhood Market, 1011 E Centennial, Saturday Feb. 20 and Sunday Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monetary donations can also be made, and SEK NOW will match them up to $200. Monetary donations can be sent via PayPal or The Cash App (Square Cash) to email@example.com, or a check can be mailed to SEK NOW, PO Box 354, Pittsburg, KS 66762.
SEK NOW members are also willing to pick up donations from community members. To arrange for this, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a private message to the SEK NOW Facebook account, @SEKNOW, or Instagram account, @sek_now.
In previous years there were more donation locations and would have a product display and celebration at TJ Lelands, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic SEK NOW decided to concentrate the project.
“We don’t want to put our members at risk, but we still want to do it (donation drive),” said Jessena Shultze, SEK NOW board member.
SEK NOW members wanted to ensure the products went to the people who needed them the most, so all products received throughout the month will be given to three local community organizations.
“It’s nice for people to donate products to us and then we disburse them to three different organizations… so that way someone donating to us, their donation is helping multiple places at once..,” Shultze said.
Wesley House, an outreach mission dedicated to helping low income families meet their needs, Safehouse Crisis Center, an agency and emergency shelters for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and USD 250 P3, a volunteer group who strives to meet the needs of students in the Pittsburg public school district, will all receive the products for further distribution. Many of the organizations are donation-funded, so the donations will help further the mission of each organization.
“Safehouse for the most part is donation-funded for a lot of the client’s needs, so this makes it easier for us to have the hygiene necessities that all of our clients may need,” said Sheena Nelson, Program director at Safe House Crisis Center. “We all know that these products are a big need, especially within the community, for a lot of the women and young women. We also know these products can be very expensive, so donating really helps fill the gap that is needed for a lot of the women in our community.”
According to McGeorge, donating is “an easy way to help the community.”
“It’s necessary, they’re not optional,” McGeorge said. “A person who menstruates needs menstrual products… you can’t get by without them. By donating you’re helping people who are struggling in the community.”