In the wake of the destruction left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the states of Texas and Florida, there has been no shortage of people willing to come together and step up to help those hit the hardest. Some of the biggest items people initially rush to donate to displaced victims are food, clothing, and blankets.
While those items are certainly needed and appreciated, there is also always a huge need for essential hygiene products such as diapers, maxi pads, and tampons—items that are not provided by disaster relief agencies, shelters, or even by federal low-income assistance programs such as WIC.
The National Diaper Bank Network works to connect the more than 300 community-based diaper banks across the country that collect, store, and distribute free diapers to families in need. The organization has expanded its emergency diaper relief efforts in the aftermath of Harvey and Irma, working to deliver millions of diapers to impacted families in need. Currently, the network includes seven diaper banks across Texas and three in Florida. Such efforts are key in times like these—the Houston Diaper Bank alone maxed out its existing supply of 20,000 diapers in one week while Hurricane Harvey tore through the greater Houston area.
Cash donations are also just as vital as the diapers themselves, as they help to offset the costs of trucking donated products to areas in need. Visit their website to make a donation.
I Support the Girls
Feminine hygiene products are an item most families don’t think to grab when rushing to evacuate their homes in an emergency situation. Similarly, shelters often don’t have a large supply in stock, as they rely on donations to have them in the first place. South Carolina-based I Support the Girls collects and distributes donated new or used bras and unopened packages of maxi pads and tampons to women in need across the country and internationally. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, its team members have been sending products to Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, which has been serving as a temporary shelter, as well as to other temporary shelters in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, as each of these cities have been receiving thousands of evacuees.
Monetary donations via their website are what the organization needs the most right now to ensure that shipments continue to be distributed throughout Texas and Florida. Supporters can also purchase and ship products directly through its Amazon wish list.
Simply the Basics
Photograph courtesy of Simply the Basics
The San Francisco-based organization Simply the Basics essentially serves as a “hygiene bank,” and is working to donate thousands of kits containing tampons, pads, razors, and toothbrushes to displaced Harvey and Irma victims, in addition to homeless women across the country. A donation of $25 can help produce five of these kits.
Similarly to Simply the Basics, Palmdale, California-based Happy Period donates menstrual hygiene kits to women in need during emergency situations, as well as to homeless and low-income women, and women living in poverty. The organization accepts donations of products such as pads, tampons, panty liners, soap, wipes, and new underwear. For the disaster relief efforts, the organization is asking that people donate to its Texas chapter or purchase menstrual hygiene items through its Amazon account. You can also visit the website for mailing information to donate products, or to make an online cash donation.
The New Jersey-based non-profit Distributing Dignity has already donated over 5,000 tampons and several large shipments of pads and bras to Houston-area women in need. The organization has also launched a fundraising campaign specifically for the women displaced by Harvey; any leftover items will continue to go to support women who are homeless, are survivors of abuse, or are otherwise in need. Visit their website to make a donation, or to find a drop-off location in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia areas.
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