Local businesses are collecting donations this month for a charity that helps women in need keep clean and comfortable during their periods.
Homeless women and women at-risk, such as those experiencing family violence, are often in a position that forces them to choose between buying sanitary products, or buying food for themselves or their family.
Share the Dignity collects pads, tampons and other sanitary products to give to such women in need.
The charity’s regional leader Pat Quinn said the movement addressed a simple yet often overlooked problem.
“You think of homelessness and you think of food and warm clothing, you don’t think about that time of the month,” Ms Quinn said.
Brazilian Beauty is one of the Bendigo businesses acting as a drop-off point for donations.
Franchisee Sandra Campbell said she could empathise with the need for women to have sanitary items at their disposal each month.
“If they can provide a bit of comfort, a bit of dignity, some alleviation of financial stress for even a month, it’s worth the effort from all of us,” Ms Campbell said.
Donations collected in Bendigo are given to women in the area through local charities and organisations.
The charity met with a strong response locally last year.
“There were times when I’d go out or get up in the morning and there would be masses of products on the doorstep,” she said.
She said the charity suggested women buy an extra packet of tampons or pads when purchasing their own.
“But people aren’t just giving packets, they’re dropping off bags of them,” Ms Quinn said.
This drive hopes to collect 500,000 packets of pads and tampons nationwide, after last August’s collection – only the second the fledgling charity had held – saw the donation of 150,000 packets.
Ms Quinn hopes to at least double the 400 packets that were given in Bendigo last August, the first local drive.
This month’s collection started with donations and a fundraiser supported by Intimo at Axedale on Friday, April 1.
The charity was founded by Brisbane woman Rochelle Courtenay last year after she learnt homeless women were using newspaper and toilet paper in lieu of the sanitary products they could not afford.
According to Share the Dignity, pads and tampons are often the last items to be donated to shelters, but the first to be taken.
The major collection drives are held in April and August.
Other collection points in Bendigo include the Australian Hearing Hub on Queen Street, Fernwood on Hargreaves Street and Coles stores.