When it comes to providing for those in need, food and clothes usually top the list.
But few ever think about feminine hygiene products for girls and women. It is one of those subjects that many probably would prefer not to think about, but having reliable access to pads, tampons and other feminine hygiene products is a necessity.
That's why a group of Spartanburg women are coming together this weekend to host a Period Packing Party. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Barrett Room at the Spartanburg Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church St., Spartanburg. A brunch will be provided.
The women are donating feminine hygiene products and creating packages to provide them to those in need.
“I was surprised to find out it was a need. We saw the Red Cross list, and menstrual products weren’t even listed; as if your menstrual process stopped during disasters,” said Sharron Phillips, co-founder and director of Homeless Period Project.
Other groups involved in the effort include volunteers from the United Way of the Piedmont, the Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg Clerk of Court's Office, Spartanburg School District 7 and local sororities.
This is the third event that has been held over the last few years. Phillips held the first one in June 2015 as a one-time thing. But after women realized the need, they asked her for the dates of a second event.
“Immediately something touched me," Phillips said. "I knew besides being a mom this was my purpose.”
Phillips said her main concern when it comes to this issue is schoolgirls. She said feminine hygiene products can be found in some school bathrooms, and this is the only source of such products for some students. She worries about where they will find them while school is out for the summer.
“We’ve donated 9,000 period packs throughout the month of May. Half of them went to schoolgirls and half went to homeless women,” she said.
Clerk of Court Hope Blackley saw the event on Facebook and said she was immediately drawn to help the cause. She is working with Phillips to organize the event.
“This is a need that most people haven't given a thought to," Blackley said. "My reaction was, ‘I never even thought about that.'”
Blackley and Phillips said they believe that women and girls should never have to worry about this issue. They agree that the homeless have other issues that they should focus on and not have to worry about feminine hygiene products.
"People would be shocked that it's not a third-world issue," Phillips said. "It's in our community. It concerns me. Part of my calling is to spread the awareness.”
Elite Senior Day Center and the Homeless Period Project recently joined together to hold similar events in Greenwood.
“They put together period packs for us and they load the seniors up on the van and deliver the period packs to the homeless for us," Phillips said. "It's really cool how that sort of happened, helping the women and girls in their community.”
To learn more, visit www.homelessperiodproject.org.