Homelessness isn’t just about losing the roof over your head. In many cases, homeless individuals have lost family, friends, and their sense of self-worth and confidence. The Period Purse, a grassroots organization in Canada, seeks to provide homeless individuals with a much-needed emotional boost by delivering tampons and pads in a fashionable bag filled with additional non-essential items such as chocolate, chapstick, new socks, underwear, and makeup to women living in shelters and on the streets.
Sara Charney, WRJ Vice President for Programs and Education, told us about how her Chai Mitzvah-WRJ group became involved in the Period Purse project: “One of the women in our group found out about this organization. They run ‘stuffing’ gatherings in the east and west ends of Toronto. This project has grown across Canada! I attended my first one last Saturday night at a church. The purses were red bags with an Old Spice logo on them. We stuffed these bags with donated tampons, pads, chocolates, hotel size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Several also got toothpaste and toothbrushes – whatever gets donated as extras along with the tampons and pads goes into the purses.”
“The filled purses were donated to local shelters and drop-in centres. Each drop off location/centre provides a list of the number of tampons and pads to be included in each purse. The chocolates and other things are nice extras. The packers are asked to bring bags of recycling home with them and the organizers drop off the boxes filled with purses to the various locations. It’s quite an efficient process. The organizers also brought goodies for the volunteers. High school students that were stuffing brought along music, so we packed and sang along to Mamma Mia, Grease and other shows!”