A Guest Blog Submitted by Andrea Cooke,
Member of Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us)
On Tuesday night, February 5th, a group of concerned citizens gathered together to listen and learn about how they could help to put an end to period poverty. Several of the people in the room expressed their lack of knowledge about the issue and were not sure about what it was exactly, but they knew they needed to find a way to be of assistance.
Soon after we introduced ourselves we quieted to listen to Claire Cox, the convener of the meeting and the president of Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us). Almost immediately we could sense the passion that consumed Claire when she began to give us a complete history of how she became aware of this pertinent issue and what Georgia Women and Georgia STOMP had done to begin the work of ending the sales tax associated with feminine hygiene products.
We then watched a powerful story about a girl who faced barriers in the accessibility of feminine hygiene products. This young girl did not feel that her family could afford the high expense of the products and was glad that she had a resource in her school, that helped fill in the gaps. The video highlighted a program called the Homeless Period Project, and the story the director told about what wonderful work they do began to help us all to see just why we were there. As I sat in the room, teary-eyed watching the short video, I noticed very quickly that I was not the only one who was moved. This was the pivotal moment that solidified for me that I would need to do something, and I feel that the passion displayed in the video was quietly motivating others to activate something inside themselves as well.
Next, we listened to the founder of Helping Mamas, Jamie Lackey, out of Norcross, Georgia. She’d driven down to speak to us in person about the amazing work she was doing by operating a baby bank and as a result of this work she’d began the work of “helping to connect mamas to mamas needing help!” It is a wonderful concept and hearing about her passion was certainly contagious. She shared with us about her willingness to share information and how we could stay connected.
After Claire stated clearly that she was so excited about this movement, she also made it clear that she was sufficiently booked in the realm of taking up causes and she offered us the opportunity to do what we could to help. Several people spoke up and as a result of that call to action we have now created a leadership team!
…and just like that, we are doing something to help end period poverty in our community!
I challenge all those who read this, regardless of your need for the period products, to pick up a pack next time you go to the store and donate them; it just might make the difference for a girl or woman, who may be choosing between a pad or a meal…