Three Patton High School students have teamed up to collect menstrual products and other general hygiene products to benefit homeless people.
Joanna Rodriguez, 17, said she decided to get involved after she saw a social media post about Her Drive, an organization that helps people host product drives to benefit organizations in their own communities.
“I was interested in it,” Rodriguez said. “They were like, if I wanted to host a drive, then turn in an application.”
She said she didn’t expect to get accepted, but she was.
“Basically, they’re raising awareness about people who don’t have any resources or don’t have the ability … to have resources that they can afford or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “It’s mostly targeted toward people of color who are disproportionately affected by poverty and homelessness, but it can be donated to anyone.”
Rodriguez, the host volunteer, said she’s still deciding what local organization she wants to donate the collected goods. The organization will be approved by the Her Drive Executive Team.
“At the end of the drive, I will be donating it to … one of the homeless shelters,” Rodriguez said.
Products are being accepted at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on West Union Street in Morganton and at Smoothie King on Independence Boulevard.
Rodriguez said donors also can fill out an online form at http://bit.ly/2XRy7yt to have products picked up from their doorstep without having to come in contact with anyone.
Accepted products include anything from pads, tampons, menstrual cups, panty liners, period underwear and bras to things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap and dental hygiene products.
Rodriguez said she thinks it’s important to donate products like these because they are expensive, and can often be out of reach for those who are struggling to keep a roof over their head.
“A lot of people are in need of these products but they just can’t afford them all,” she said. “There’s just so many things that can be donated … it’s just for those people who are affected by poverty and homelessness and all that, especially for the homeless people. They obviously don’t have as much opportunity to get these products, and a lot of them are without them.”
The product drive will be open until around Feb. 20, Rodriguez said. Local volunteers have weekly check-ins with the Her Drive executive team.
It wouldn’t be possible without the help of her friends, Rodriguez said.
“A bunch of my friends are helping me, they were the ones promoting as well,” Rodriguez said. “My really close friend, her name is Evelin (Vicente Rodriguez), she has really been helping me a lot … she’s been trying to spread the word as well. I have another friend who’s been helping me, his name is Jonaton (Batz). They’re both very supportive, and they’re really trying to help me as much as possible.”