I Support The Girls
One evening on my way to a dinner with the girls, a young woman approached me on the corner to ask “Excuse me can you please help me out?” I reached into my crossbody bag to realize that I was cashless, but just as I was about to hand her some spare change in the amount of 4 quarters, she said “It’s for my period.” Offering her the dollar in change, I then quickly pulled out a tampon. “I’m sorry I wish I had more,” I said as she grabbed it from my hand. Dressed slightly disheveled with no sight of a purse or any kind of carry-on, it seemed that she wasn’t expecting me to hand over actual goods. She mumbled a ‘thanks’ and ran across the street without even checking for stoplights.
We’ve all had to beg for a tampon from a female co-worker or friend on those unexpected days of the month. But, to have to go up to a complete stranger and ask for something that you so desperately need at that very moment, with courage comes humility. As women, we have to look out for each other, in any small way possible.
I Support the Girls (ISTG) collects and distributes donations of new and used bras and new sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads to homeless women and girls. Every day hundreds of thousands of homeless girls and women have to choose between food or buying maxi pads. What is even worse is that many of them have to find non-hygienic ways to manage and clean after themselves during their periods. In our spotlight editions of WOMAN where we ask three questions to women we admire, the common answer to the question of the “worst thing about being a woman” is the monthly routine of getting our period as well as PMS. Menstruating is truly the bane of our female existence, I’d like to see a man make it past day 2 cramps.
Womanhood is hard enough once a month, but even more so everyday without a fully supported bra. Homeless women tend to wear the same bra for eight years, resulting in back pain from the lack of support of worn-out underwire as well as the uncleanliness of the fabric to the skin leading to irritation and possibly infections.
Dana Marlowe is the founder of ISTG and she’s a mother, loser of weight (read her personal story which then led to the start of ISTG). She turned her weight loss into a passion project and now her efforts have led to ISTG expanding in cities across North America and worldwide (Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Pakistan and Canada to name a few). See locations here.