I moved to New York City when I was 19 years old. I was a bright eyed kid with a lot of talent and big dreams. I wasn't in school or connected to any organization, I didn't know anyone, and I didn't have any money. I ended up living on the streets within weeks. One of the hardest parts of the experience was menstruating, because without money, I didn't have the resources that I needed to care for my body. Homeless shelters were not very helpful - they only provided a few pads and left the rest up to residents. I remember using toilet paper and paper towels to stop the bleeding. I’m not embarrassed to talk about this because it’s real life and I think people need to become more comfortable discussing their experiences.
Thankfully, I was able to transcend that situation and have since worked hard to take better care of myself. I work as a journalist, I'm getting married next year, and I recently gave birth to my first child. My budding family moved into an apartment and in the spirit of gratitude (after reflecting on the aforementioned occurrences), I thought about how far I had come since my time as a homeless teen. I also thought about the way that homeless individuals are perceived, and also how tough it was to endure periods without housing. Thus, Project Period was born.
Project Period is a Shreveport, Louisiana-based effort that will provide homeless individuals with care packages that include a reasonable number of pads/tampons, wipes, water, underwear, chocolate, and hand sanitizer. I’d also like to include Diva Cups! Distribution will begin the week of Thanksgiving 2018. The response from my community has been great - the people of Shreveport are ready to put time, energy, and money into facilitating change.
As a kid, my family instilled in me the importance of service. My grandmother offered free tutoring to kids and adults who wanted their GED. My mom, aunts, and church members would go to nursing homes around Christmas and hand deliver thoughtful gifts to the elderly. It seems only right that I continue that legacy in my own special way. My family is proud of me and they believe in this initiative 100%.
November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd from 5 PM until 7 PM , I’m hosting a bag preparation meet up in Shreveport. People will be able to bring materials they’ve collected, funds, or themselves and help me prepare to distribute bags. I’m excited to meet the awesome community members who are down to help bring this vision to life. I’ve also heard from folks in California and Rome, Italy who want to bring Project Period to their area, and others who want to expand the scope of the project.
A college professor once told me that when you find yourself too worried about the details of your life, put the focus on others for a second and see what happens. Since I’ve started working on this, it’s taken me out of my own little bubble and I’ve been able to use the energy I spend worrying on something much more productive. I’m happy knowing that homeless individuals will know that they are truly cared for this winter.
All donations can be sent to our Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and questions/comments can be sent to that address as well. Everyone deserves to have what they need, period.