Hygiene products drive helps local charity

By Kimberly Belser, Staff writer

Organizations around the University contributed their efforts to a Sanitary Products Drive, where hygiene products were collected to be donated to a local charity organization.

“Join Women of Color as we make a difference by donating sanitary products to Courage Connection!” read a Twitter post by Women of Color. “All donations will be given to individuals in need around the community. We will have a representative from the Women’s Resources Center to talk with us about domestic violence.”

Erin Smith, sophomore in LAS and president of Women of Color, said the drive was her idea, but everyone played a part.

A flyer posted around social media indicated that organizations including UIUC MAPS, Reaching Across Classes, the African Cultural Association, Moda Bellissima, WORD, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Black Students for Revolution and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. participated in the drive.

Smith said she came up with the idea to have the Sanitary Products Drive, getting connected to the resources, donating them, getting the speaker and “kind of organizing things from there.”

“I wanted to host this event because Women of Color is really big on community service and giving back and uplifting women around the community, and I felt that supplying them with the supplies they would need for a naturally occurring thing would really help benefit them,” Smith said.

Smith said the donated items will be going to Courage Connection, an organization which “provides housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence,” according to the Courage Connection website.

A representative from the Women’s Resources Center also attended the event to give a presentation on domestic violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, about one in four women and one in seven men have reported experiencing “severe physical violence by a partner during their lifetime.”

She said she hopes the drive will “do a little bit” just by letting women know they do have support within the community, on- and off-campus, and if they ever need supplies, the University will always be here to help.

Serena Mitchell, sophomore in ACES and publicity chair for RACSs, said the organization attended the drive to support Women of Color.

 “They’re trying to put on an event that helps women and girls and provide sanitary products, and then we’re going to be here for a presentation on domestic violence, so we’re really just here for support and letting them know that we support the movement, that we support their (organization),” Mitchell said. 

She said Women of Color reached out to RACs and asked if they were interested in collaborating for the event. Mitchell said RACs thought it was for a good cause and provided a good message, so they wanted to be a part of it. 

“I always want to volunteer, I want to do anything I can to help out, especially being a part of a mentoring org, we try to set the example, and kind of just show people that it’s OK to be involved and to support different RSOs as well as your community so we’re here to support,” she said. 

Mitchell said she thinks donating sanitary products is very important because they are expensive and a lot of women do need them, especially homeless women or girls who don’t have money to buy them, so she thinks the drive was helpful and educational.

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