by Spirit of Oakland

The idea began this past Thanksgiving as my friend  and I were passing out feminine products to women in homeless encampments in Oakland. We quickly realized that our one-time effort was not sustainable if we wanted to make a long-term impact. That same evening, we raised almost $400 from individual donations and used that money to pilot this project with five homeless women living in encampments.
After speaking with the five women about their current methods of handling their menstruation and learning what a big stressor it is for them, we informed them about newer, reusable products on the market. Each individual chose either Thinx reusable underwear or a menstrual cup. We spent time educating the women on how to maintain their chosen product and ensure they had ways to clean them after each use. Two months after delivering the products, we followed up with four of the five recipients (one has relocated since delivery) and received positive feedback from all four of them! Because of the great feedback, we are now working with a few interested shelters in Berkeley and Oakland. We joined the Spirit of Oakland as we have encountered great interest in this project and together we can have a greater impact.
- Janet Gabriella Ramsay