Many women and girls, who find themselves homeless, have to make the choice (each month) between paying for meals and a box of tampons. Being homeless and female is often not thought about in such a light. It is the mission of Support the Girls to restore that dignity and self-respect to thousands of women. STG collects and distributes donations of new/used bras and new, sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads to homeless women and girls across North American and 4 locations worldwide. In the last 12 months, 135,000 bras and 785,000 menstrual hygiene products have been collected and distributed worldwide. Director of Affiliate Outreach at Support the Girls and Hoosier native, Rachael Heger, describes her personal efforts within the organization and how men should be paying attention and getting involved too.
*For the month of July, Support the Girls is teaming up with Soma to facilitate large-scale donations in boutiques across the country. To learn more about this initiative, click here Soma and Support the Girls Partnership.
Interview recorded on July 12, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part 1 of 1.
Read a partial transcript of the interview here:
Bennett: Should we call this a human rights issue, the right to have these items?
Heger: Absolutely, I think it’s a matter of dignity.
Bennett: Why do you think so?
Heger: A lot of people think about, as you mentioned, donating food, clothes, coats at winter time…but these items (that are not seen) are often missed when donating.
Bennett: Tell me about your current reach right now and what you are trying to do.
Heger: We are celebrating our 2nd birthday (in July 2017), we have exploded from the initial donation of 1, 000 bras to now, nationwide we have donated over 135 thousand bras and over 800 thousand menstrual hygiene items across 48 different affiliates and 6 countries.
Bennett: What’s been the response from those that get these items?
Heger: They are very happy we are bringing awareness to this so they don’t have to choose between a tampon and a sandwich.
Bennett: You personally had the chance to meet with folks at Spotify, Omnicom Media Group and a group of fraternity men. How did that go?
Heger: That was great, they were very polite and they received the message very well.
Bennett: Did they have some good questions?
Heger: One question was why are these items so expensive? Why certain tampons are organic and how that worked?
Bennett: Sometimes these guys are uncomfortable with this when you go to ask them to the store for those items.
Heger: Maybe they are uncomfortable about this because it is all about women and I hope talking about Support the Girls is helping to make them more comfortable.
Bennett: How did you get involved in this?
Heger: I had read an article by founder Dana Marlow and with the start of a new year, I wanted to do something good so I put out a call on Facebook for bras and that first call out I got 99 bras. I originally thought to send them to D.C. but then thought we could do something here in Indianapolis. I set a goal of collecting 3,500 bras before turning 35 and met that goal in 88 days; last year I was able to donate 10,000 bras.