Because Periods Don’t Stop During Natural Disasters, Here’s How to Help

Last week, Hurricane Harvey viciously hit the Gulf Coast, dropping nearly five feet of rain in some areas. Massive flooding in the aftermath of the storm has displaced some 30,000 people, and that number is predicted to grow even as the flood waters recede. When natural disasters hit our fellow citizens, many of us rush to donate everything we can think of: money, food, water, toiletries, clothing, and even blood. We tend to think of disaster relief in terms of “everyday” needs, but ironically, period products are often left off that list. Whether it’s because periods are considered taboo to discuss, or non-menstruators organize the relief initiatives, we need to remember that people still get their periods, even during natural disasters.

Imagine, you have been unexpectedly forced to flee your home and leave all of your worldly possessions to avoid being swept away by rising flood waters. You have the clothes on your back, and maybe, a few ancillary items you were able to throw together last minute. You are bused to an unfamiliar area and find shelter at a convention center. You settle in and wait. Two days later you get your period. If you can manage to not bleed through your only set of clothes, the chances of finding enough products to see you through the entirety of your period are pretty slim. And, suffice it to say, this is probably not the occasion where you want to try free bleeding for the first time.

Fortunately, there has been a huge outpouring of support from the period-positive community. And thanks to those willing to speak out in the name of period product awareness, like the article we shared the other day from SheKnows, we have access to a great list of organizations collecting period products for evacuees:

Aquí Estamos RGV
Happy Period Houston
Support the Girls
The Golden Lotus Project
Period
The New Jersey Period Project
The Junior League of New Orleans
Project Pixie
Cora
The Homeless Period Project

And the list is growing by the day—if you have an org or link to add, please 78post it in the comments!

Just remember, if heading to your local Target to fill your cart with period products to donate isn’t feasible, you can still help by making a financial donation to organizations committed to supplying these products to evacuees. Our thoughts continue to be with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Amy Sutherland is a period-positive advocate, educator and writer. She prefers tackling topics like reproductive health, fertility, sexuality, feminism, social justice issues and all those tricky subjects you avoid talking about at family gatherings. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Women’s Health as well as a Graduate Certificate in Holistic Health Studies. Read her full bio here

Read more articles by Amy Sutherland

2 Comments

  1. We love your social feed! We noticed you shared organizations that donate menstrual items to women in need and we are one as well. Located in South Florida (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach) we give monthly to 12 shelters, 20+ schools and street distribution to ensure women do not go without. We’d love to be added to your list of providers to the period movement. Please let me know how we can.

    • Ash, thank you so much for reading! With hurricane Irma expected to make landfall this weekend, we know the need for donated menstrual products will only grow. We will absolutely add you to our list! Please stay safe this weekend!

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