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Local Organization Collects Feminine Hygiene Products For Students

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A local organization is working to provide students in Hillsborough County with feminine hygiene products…especially as families across the Bay Area struggle to make ends meet.

Leaders of the organization, Ladies Heights Happy Hour say before this year, families were already struggling to get feminine products but this year because of inflation, it's gotten worse. Now they are asking the community to donate pads or any other feminine products before school starts.

"Rent is sky-rocketing, groceries are so expensive, a lot of families are having to decide, do we buy dinner for the family or do we buy a box of very expensive period products," said Ellie Baggett with Ladies Heights Happy Hour.

With inflation rising, the need for feminine products is higher than ever before.

"People and families are having to make those very difficult choices and a lot of times those period products are just items that don't get purchased," said Baggett.

Baggett says not having these items can be detrimental.

"People will stay home from school, they may be held back because they can't attend and it does contribute towards truancy for these young students," said Baggett.

Annya Patel is a student in Hillsborough County Schools and she sees her peers struggle with the issue.

"You feel like everyone is looking at you, you're scared and especially because periods are such a stigmatized topic it's a lot worse," said Patel.

Baggett says at schools like Memorial Middle School, students are resorting to other options.

"A friend of mine was a social worker there and there were no paper towels. I asked why and aren't there any paper towels here and she said girls will use the paper towels because girls cannot afford the products," said Baggett.

That's why Ladies Heights Happy Hour and the Global Girls Initiative is teaming up to collect donations over the next month.

"I am working with Hillsborough County Public School District to install hygiene dispensers in all the title 1 high schools so a portion of those donations will go towards supplying those dispensers in bathrooms," said Patel.

The organization will be collecting donations through August 20.

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