MEMPHIS, Tenn. - For families who struggle to put food on the table, sanitary napkins and similar products are a monthly expense that don’t fit the budget. Some students skip school, because they don’t have what they need.
A local women’s organization created a campaign to donate needed items to SCS, after learning some Shelby County girls are missing out on their education.
The Shelby County Chapter of the Links, Inc., along with partnering organizations and sponsors, calls the effort “Project 1000.”
“It’s amazing that something that costs five to seven dollars really could have a substantial impact on a young lady’s education,” Tori Mason, an organizer of Project 1000, said.
Members of the Links are asked to host parties, and invite at least 10 guests. Each guest brings five or more products, to be donated to SCS.
Mason and Telesa Taylor sat down with FOX13’s Kristin Leigh to discuss the effort, and to shine a light on what’s often a taboo topic. They hope the community will contribute to the cause.
“This is an issue that happens in our own city here in the United States of America,” Taylor said.
In some cases, local teachers cover the cost to prevent young women from soiling their clothes. They keep a stash of supplies so students aren’t embarrassed by Mother Nature’s monthly visit.
“We have members of our organization who are educators who pull with other educators in their schools to purchase sanitary napkins for the young ladies,” Mason said.
SCS sent FOX13 a statement, thanking volunteers for recognizing the need in local schools.
“We’re extremely thankful to The Links for seeing this very important need in our schools, and for helping eliminate a major obstacle for young ladies in our district,” a school spokesperson said.
About 80 percent of SCS students are considered “economically disadvantaged,” according to data from the school district.
“Families are faced with very tough decisions as to how to spend their money,” the SCS spokesperson continued. “It can mean choosing food over personal hygiene products.”
Once the products have been collected, the sanitary napkins will be distributed to SCS middle schools and high schools.
“You can email us and let us know, ‘Hey we’re interested in supporting this endeavor,’” Taylor said. “We will arrange to make sure those items are picked up to go to Shelby County Schools, as well.”
By engaging local organizations, sponsors, and volunteers, Taylor and Mason hope the project will be sustainable so that no young woman is in need.
“If you have to make the decision between food and feminine hygiene products, you’re going to pick food and lodging every time,” Mason said.
SCS is not able to provide students with tampons for health and legal reasons. Volunteers are asking for sanitary napkins of all sizes, or cash donations.
For more information, contact Project1000Memphis@gmail.com.
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