When discussing the types of supports that women and children fleeing domestic violence need, hygiene products might not always be top of mind.
Yet, these often overlooked resources are one of the things that women need most to maintain dignity under incredibly difficult circumstances, and help support independence.
Couillard Group announced on April 4, that as part of the Souls for Sisters Campaign that ran in March, they were able to collect over 2,000 feminine hygiene products for the Brenda Strafford Foundation’s Heart Home Network.
“We had a goal to collect enough personal hygiene items for these women for one year, and we accomplished our goal which is really exciting and we’re really grateful,” said Jessica Theroux, a partner with Couillard Group and founder of Souls for Sisters.
She said that there was about 100 women at the shelter that they wanted to provide supplies for, and as a result they collected over 4,000 diapers, 1,200 boxes of products like tampons and pads, along with boxes of q-tips, shampoo, bath mats, and other hygiene essentials.
“We are just really driven by a purpose to be there to support women who don’t have access to the same opportunities that all women do,” Theroux said.
“We just want to be there to provide support to women who need it, and in this particular case, women who are trying to flee domestic violence with their children and need the resources to be able to do that.”
Theroux said they also were able to get the donation of several boxes of brand-new hair scrunchies from local firm Hunchy.
“Just to be able to provide the women with not necessarily something they need, but something that’s just really nice to have,” she said.
Support comes from personal connections
Ellen Parker, who is the CEO of Parker Public Relations, helped with the Souls for Sisters Campaign through her connection to the Brenda Strafford Foundation.
“As a parent at the Hillhurst School, where many of the children go to school who live at the shelter… I’ve become friends with many of the women,” Parker said.
“Because of my personal relationship about seven years ago, I started volunteering and then I formalized the relationship with my company.”
Parker PR has helped to coordinate several campaigns over the last year for the foundation, including the collection of over 1,000 coats in the winter for women in the shelter.
She said the year’s worth of hygiene products would make a big difference in the lives of the women at the shelter.
“Many of these women come from a domestic environment where they haven’t worked and they haven’t had a career because they’ve been living in an abusive situation where they’ve been really isolated,” Parker said.
“When they’re not thinking about things like this, and how they’re going to be able to afford these basic necessities that come easily for most of us then they can worry about taking care of their children and having their kids be in the in the Recovery Center to help deal with trauma and to be able to access the other resources that they have there like preparation for careers.”
She said that due to safety concerns for the women, it isn’t possible to make direct donations to the shelter, and so campaigns like the Souls for Sisters Campaign were essential to filling needs.
“It’s hard for people just to understand there’s a need and drop things off, and they don’t know where to drop it off. So we’ve created that access point, which is really important,” Parker said.