Keep it Flowing helps to collect feminine items for low income places

hen most women have a menstrual cycle, they can easily go to their nearest retail store and pick up feminine items to fit their needs and move along.

A lot of people don’t realize that there are women all around the country who don’t have that luxury. A program at the University aims to

combat this issue.

Keep it Flowing is a project sponsored by the Women’s Center on campus to help collect feminine items such as pads and tampons to donate to places where the need for feminine resources

is dire.

Mary Krueger, director of the Women’s Center, said the project was born after realizing that women in shelters and on the street were in need of feminine products.

“Keep It Flowing was started by the Women’s Center and is a brand new initiative, quite new,” Krueger said. “It’s a community service initiative that collects and distributes menstrual items to low income places like shelters, food pantries and other women’s centers.”

Krueger said that women not being able to have access to items that aid their feminine needs is an aspect of poverty most people don’t know about or think of.

“Lack of feminine care product is an aspect of gendered poverty that most people don’t know about or ignore,” Krueger said. “Think about it. What are you supposed to do when you’re homeless or on the street or in a shelter where they have no money or feminine products, just bleed and be unsanitary? Literally, what are you supposed to do?”

Krueger is in constant contact with shelters and food pantries in northwest Ohio like the Toledo Food Bank, and when she asks people like Barbara Hofstetter, director of operations at Toledo Food Bank, if sanitary items are the least donated, she

said yes.

“They all do, they all say yes,” Krueger said. “We all know tampons aren’t glamorous, but women still need them anyway. People forget that feminine products are a

necessity, too.”

The initiative collects items for shelters, women’s centers and food pantries all across the northwest Ohio region in places that are needed, such as Findlay, Toledo Food Bank, food pantries in BG and even battered women’s shelters like the Cocoon Shelter here in Bowling Green.

Krueger said that women having access to these products is crucial.

“There are other sources of assistance for other things, but there are no public assistance resources for this product; none. We’re the first of its kind. You can have vouchers for housing and food and baby diapers and milk/formula, but for feminine items you either pay out of pocket or you don’t get it,” she said.

Krueger said the project is collecting pads, tampons and panty liners [packaged and wrapped], but if someone wanted to donate things like feminine sprays, wipes or packages of clean underwear, that would be

accepted too.

“We accept it all,” he said. “When we call the staff at non-profits to tell them we have donations, they cried. Hardly a day goes by that a woman or girl off the street walks in and asks for items and they have to say no. They buy products for the women with their meager salaries, their own money. No one talks about it but I’m sure they’re thankful.”