For Homeless Women, Daily Struggle To Keep Clean Is A Hygienic Nightmare

When it comes to acts of charity, the United States is considered at the forefront. According to the Foundation Center, there were one million non-profit charitable organizations as of May of 2005. The Inquisitr has reported on the selfless acts such charitable organizations do, like a church in New York having patrons charitably pay $100 each to have a fancy dinner with the city’s homeless.

Unfortunately, being ahead of the game on charity doesn’t mean we have all bases covered. For homeless women, the one thing they have the most issues with is simply keeping clean, and it is worse during their time of the month.

According to an article by Aljazeera America, New York City is grappling with a historic level of homelessness. Within the masses, staying clean is a struggle for thousands of women living on the streets, which includes 3,262 single women. The reasons for their hardships on cleanliness has to do with how time-consuming and potentially dangerous it is to maintain a sense of dignity.

Debbian Fletcher-Blake, an assistant executive director of Care for the Homeless, which provides medical care at 25 city clinics, states that medical providers face an overwhelming tide of women seeking assistance. Apparently, homeless women face steeper medical challenges than their male counterparts. This includes minimal access to safe sanitary places.

“It’s survival of the fittest. A woman can’t pee behind a tree like a male can. A woman gets her period. It’s hard for her to wash up. If she’s a heavier woman, she can develop skin infections or an abrasion under the breast.”

Distributing Dignity
Joanie Balderstone and Rebecca McIntire founded “Distributing Dignity,” a non-profit that provides bras and feminine products to women in need.

However, out of all the problems homeless women have, it is during their period that is recognized as a nightmare. The Huffington Post followed up on the original article, in which the topic of menstruation, though a normal part of a woman’s life, is considered a taboo topic when it comes to homeless needs. This means people who do help are unaware of this situation. Joanie Balderstone and her partner, Rebecca McIntire, are well aware of this when they donated clothes back in 2009 at the homeless day center in Camden, New Jersey. They asked the women what they really needed, in which the overwhelming responses were pads and tampons.

As a result, Joanie Balderstone and Rebecca McIntire founded Distributing Dignity, a non-profit organization that donates bras and feminine hygiene products to women in need. Two months later, they hosted their first “Mardi Bra” party, in which guests donated 80 new bras and hundreds of feminine products, which were then distributed to shelters in Camden.

Presently, Distributing Dignity has expanded to help shelters throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia. They know that having access of such an everyday item to homeless women is invaluable. If you want to help out in anyway, check out Distributing Dignity at their official website.

[Featured Image via Bing, Post Image via Distributing Dignity]

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