Simple and to the Point, Period Kits
Simple and to the point, that is what Period Kits aims to be. With a name that doesn’t attempt to dodge the mission it strives to uphold. Period Kits provides a 90-day supply of sanitary period products to individuals experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty.
How Period Kits came to life…
One little word: period. Just a small word yet so many meanings, cultural taboos, and to some an enigma. For people who experience a recurring monthly ritual, a period is much more than just the end of a sentence. This was something well known by Ashley Beirne, a person who would bring awareness to a primarily unspoken topic. A Philadelphia native and someone who knew adversity quite well, Ashley knew the challenges many individuals face when encountering their period. As someone who knew what it meant to experience homelessness, Ashley’s intent was to provide a dignified experience to anyone having a period regardless of your status in this world. This meant eliminating the need for people to make choices between providing food for their families or purchasing period products.
This was the driving force behind her mission in 2018 when she set out to distribute 300 period kits by the time of her birthday. The intention of each period kit was not only to provide a three-month supply of product, but also break down cultural barriers so that no one felt ashamed to talk about that time of the month. She did just that. By the summer of 2018, Ashley had distributed approximately 1,800 kits and acknowledged her mission to be complete. With a full heart she set off into the sunset with her husband, dog, and a traveling home enjoying the beauty this great country has to offer.
Did you know that in the US 1 in 5 girls miss school because she does not have access to the products she needs when she has her period? Yes, this is happening in 2019. Menstrual hygiene is a right, not a privilege.
What Ashley did not know was that she was going to set in motion something much larger. It was in that moment a small group of community members acknowledged the need for this service and the void it would leave behind should the mission not continue What started as a birthday goal has evolved into a full fledge non-profit – Period Kits – championed by a group of five determined individuals.
Serving the local community and organizations such as Precious Child, The Harm Reduction Center, and Father Woody’s Haven of Hope, Period Kits strives to continue the mission Ashley started in the local Denver community. During the first year of operation, it is the goal of Period Kits to distribute 1,000 kits providing those in need access to a three-month supply of period products. Each kit includes 40 tampons, 20 pads, 20 personal liners, 20 wipes, and a 6 pack of underwear.
According to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Women and Homelessness Brief, there are 3,880 women known to be experiencing homelessness in Colorado. “Women in all racial and ethnic groups experience higher poverty rates than white men, which causes significant challenges to housing security.”
Colorado Center on Law and Policy stated in their 2018 Self Sufficiency Standard for Colorado report, “Almost two out of three single mothers lack income adequate to meet their basic needs.”
Geoff Davis, the Executive Director of the non-profit Period Kits, helps put together kit building parties with various hosts (If you want to be a host, visit their website: www.periodkits.org for information). 20% of the kits are donated to Street Outreach and the remaining 80% go to nonprofit charities. Period Kits are always looking for new groups to participate and also educate in the process. They aim to take the stigma and ignorance out of periods. It’s about dignity and health. Period.
Please visit their website www.periodkits.org to see how you can participate or donate. Period Kits is also involved in National Period Day on October 19th. Supporters will take to the Capitol in Denver to stress that MENSTRUAL HYGIENE IS A RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE. They will be pursuing equitable access to menstrual hygiene, and breaking down the stigma surrounding periods. Unlike most poverty-related issues, this one is solvable. Along with destigmatizing periods, we are calling for:
– Clean and healthy period products to be freely accessible in schools, shelters, and prisons
– Eliminate the “tampon tax” – exempt period products from the sales tax in the remaining 34 states
Whether you menstruate or not, EVERYONE is welcome. The Colorado rally will be held on the west steps of the capitol building from 12p-1:30p. Bring all your family and friends! Bring posters! Wear red!