National charity Share the Dignity is partnering with Woolworths again this month for their Dignity Drive, but this time around they need even more help due to the impact of COVID-19.
The charity, which is partnering with Woolworths again to help support women experiencing “period poverty”, usually runs a Dignity Drive in both March and in August.
Unfortunately this year’s March Dignity Drive was forced to end early due to COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in fewer donations at a time when increasing numbers of women were in need of help, thanks to the financial pressures created by the pandemic.
Share the Dignity’s founder Rochelle Courtenay said she was concerned about the impacts the pandemic would have on the period hygiene of women who were unable to access the proper sanitary items.
According to Share the Dignity, the financial impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in more women having to choose between buying food for their families or buying sanitary items, resulting in a 54 per cent rise in charities registering for products gathered from the August drive, compared to this time last year.
“COVID-19 has had a massive impact across Australia and it scares me to think of the increase in poverty that this pandemic will bring,” Ms Courtenay said.
“As a result, more women and girls are not going to be able to afford basic essentials and will have to resort to [using] toilet paper, socks or washers to deal with their period,” she said.
As a result of this impact, Ms Courtenay said she was determined to make sure the August drive was the biggest yet, urging Australians to donate.
“We will need to collect more items than we’ve done before to help meet the increased requests for support we are now seeing in communities across the country,” she said.
All Woolworths supermarkets Australia-wide will host donation boxes instore to gather sanitary items such as pads, tampons, and liners, which will then be distributed to women who cannot afford them.
In addition to collecting period products to pass on to those in need, Share the Dignity also places Dignity Vending Machines in key locations around the country, to provide free period products to those who need them.
Woolworths will also give five cents from the sale of every packet of pads, tampons and liners this month, with proceeds going towards funding more Dignity Vending Machines.
Woolworths Managing Director Claire Peters said Woolworths was eager to promote the drive.
“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Share the Dignity for our third Dignity Drive,” Ms Peters said.
“Now more than ever the charity needs our support to meet the needs of the growing number of Australian women experiencing period poverty,” she said.
“We’re encouraging [shoppers] to donate sanitary items at the collection box in their local Woolworths store.”
“This small act of kindness will go a long way to helping thousands of women in need.”
Share the Dignity and charities like them provide a vital service for people experiencing homelessness, providing essential food and hygiene items that homeless people may otherwise do not have access to.
Patron for the Gold Coast Homelessness Network Inc., Elizabeth Fritz, is a strong advocate for organisations that help the homeless and for the people working with those organisations.
“We need to really give credit to the people in those services the credit that they’re due for the amazing work they’ve done,” Ms Fritz said.
“It’s important that as a community and as citizens that we support people in these organisations so that they can support others that are doing it tough and are vulnerable.”
The Dignity Drive will run throughout the entire month of August, collecting donations of essential period products for women doing it tough, such as those experiencing homelessness or getting away from domestic violence.
Share the Dignity accept pads, maternity pads, incontinence pads, new reusable pads, tampons, period-proof underwear and menstrual cups.
Share the Dignity has drop-off locations for sanitary products around the country, including at Woolworths stores and at a selection of other nominated businesses.
Visit www.sharethedignity.org.au for more information or to make a donation.