TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For a topic that is not widely publicized, the need during "that time of the month," is great.
With approximately half a million Arizona women living in poverty, many cannot afford their most basic need: a regular supply of feminine hygiene products.
The YWCA of Southern Arizona brought the issue to light during its "Project Period" launch event on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
The YWCA will collect tampons and sanitary pads to give to women and girls in need.
Kelly Fryer, CEO of the YWCA of Southern Arizona, said this is a health and hygiene issue and expands to an economic one as well.
"Women are missing work and girls are missing school because they can't afford the supplies that they need to go out into the world confidently," Fryer said.
Blanca Santos, a Tucson mother of two daughters, said a little bit of help can go a long way for her family.
"I know a lot of people that have children, have babies. Their priorities go to those needs, not exactly to their personal needs," Santos said.
The cost of menstruation supplies could cost upwards of $70 a year and nearly $20,000 during a woman's lifetime, the YWCA said.
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, does not fund the cost of feminine hygiene products and the situation is all the more difficult for homeless women.
Fryer said donations will be welcomed all year round, especially after the holiday season and the giving spirit comes and goes.
"All the trees are going to be put away, the candles are put away, and all these women in need, who are working so hard to get themselves and their families out of poverty, they're going to have periods," Fryer said.
The YWCA will accept donations at the YWCA Frances McClelland Community Center on 525 N. Bonita Avenue, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Additional collection boxes will be placed throughout Pima County starting in January.
The supplies will be distributed through the YWCA dress-for-success program called "Your Sister's Closet."
They will also be distributed through the following partners: Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, Primavera, Our Family Services, Child and Family Resources Inc., Southern Arizona Community Food Bank, Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services, The Haven, Goodwill, and the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network.