Mardi Bras Party

Sometimes I say things like, “I have the best friends!” And it’s true, I do. But I think people interpret that to mean my friends make me laugh till water comes out my nose, or they let me cry to them about my thoroughly middle-class problems. And it’s true, they do. But there’s a lot more to them than that. They are generous in spirit and in resources.

January 14 of this year, the Huffington Post ran a piece that knocked the wind out of me, “For Homeless Women, Getting Their Period Is One Of The Most Difficult Challenges.”

The fact that menstruation is a taboo topic to begin with, means that people who are able help, often aren’t even aware that such a vast need exists.

I had one of those moments of How did I not think of that?!?! I make donations to shelters, Goodwill, food pantries, and all manner of groups like that on a regular basis. How had tampons never entered my mind? It’s so obvious. And yet, that realization had never once occurred to me.

I will shamelessly swipe any good idea, and this would be no exception. Some women profiled in the piece threw a “Mardi Bras” party. The collected bras, panties and personal hygiene products to donate to their local shelter. Why couldn’t we do that in Little Rock? There’s absolutely no reason not to!

The One is a local organization who does unbelievable work to help our homeless neighbors. I asked them if they did, in fact, need these supplies. They practically shouted through email, YES!! So I contacted a ton of my friends, and the collections began.

mardi braOne friend couldn’t come to the party I planned on Fat Tuesday, so she asked friends to bring supplies to her Mardi Gras parade watch party. They responded beautifully. Another friend forwarded the request to her Bible study group. They filled up the back of her van with supplies.

There was ice and snow the day of the party, which put a damper on the festivities at my house, but not on the generosity. Bags upon bags of tampons, pads, liners, underpants and bras were delivered to my house and took up a corner of my living room. It was fantastic.

The thing is, homelessness seems really big and hard to fix. Most of us genuinely don’t know where to start. But tampons? We can do something about that! We can fix that. That’s a problem with a solution. I really think that’s why the response was so positive and so generous.

While this post is certainly about how amazing my friends are, that’s not the main reason I’m telling you what they’ve done. I want you to know about this need too. You can do something about it. We all can.

So, contact your local shelter or church or school counselor, (they all know who needs the help) and give them some boxes of tampons or pads. It’s really a box of dignity. And who doesn’t deserve that?


One thought on “Mardi Bras Party

  1. I spent some time volunteering in one of the emergency shelters The Van got going this winter. Aaron (Reddin, The Van’s founding father) asked me to take orders from the women who came and their wishes would be granted from the stash at the warehouse. The first thing the women asked for were new bras and underpants. You always think: coats, blankets, socks. As basic and necessary as they are, bras and panties tend to slip our minds.

    Thank you for helping these women. We can’t do it all, but we can all do a little.

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