‘Approximately half of our entire world…’

Homeless Care Club launches collections


Anisa Khatana

CARE. A student makes a contribution to HCC’s donation box. The box sits on the ground just outside Officer Payne’s office just beyond the second set of front lobby doors, where many students enter SHS. “The widespread lack of feminine care products that are available to disadvantaged women affects [their] physical and mental health,” Skwara said.

The polka-dotted, metallic silver box just outside Officer Paul Payne’s office in the front lobby is not a trash can; it is neither a spare box left over from a delivery nor an extraneous assemblage of cardboard and paper.

In it are packages of pads, tampons, pantyliner, and feminine wipes. Everything contributed to the donation box will go to fulfill Homeless Care Club’s (HCC) mission of distributing feminine hygiene products to those experiencing homelessness in Cincinnati.

“For people who feel uncomfortable with this issue, I would suggest looking at the bigger picture.

“Approximately half of our entire world experiences menstruation; it is something that their sisters, mothers, and daughters will go through, and it is something that many homeless women go through,” said Caroline Skwara, 10, HCC co-founder and co-president.

As referenced by Skwara, roughly half of SHS already owns these products, and the other half lives with, is close to, or (at the very least) knows members of the former division.

HCC sees feminine hygiene products as an isolated group of necessities that no menstruating human being should have to forgo.

“Although many homeless shelters and coalitions have toiletries, clothes, etc. on their wish lists, they tend to lack feminine hygiene products,” Skwara said.

Many people simultaneously experiencing homelessness and menstruation are forced to choose between these products and meals. Some are forced to use toilet paper, paper towels, clothing, cotton balls, towels, or socks in place of pads, tampons, and the like.

Dealing with the menstrual cycle can be difficult for anyone who has to cope with it, let alone someone who does not have easy access to a reliable place to shower, basic toiletries, or guaranteed food and water.

“What are women supposed to do once a month when this issue arises if they can’t purchase or find pads and tampons?” Skwara said.

For security, monetary donations can be made in room 152, Mrs. Lesley Chapman’s classroom. HCC’s next meeting is on Mon., Nov. 6 immediately after school in room 152.

To learn more about HCC, visit the club’s Instagram account or text @HCCSHS to 810-10.

Photo courtesy of Anisa Khatana.