By Jilly Horaneck
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College Democrats are holding a bra and menstrual hygiene drive to benefit people in the Chestertown community and surrounding communities.
The items are being collected March 5 to 10 during meal times on the first floor of Hodson Dining Hall.
Cherie Ciaudella, the Secretary of the College Democrats, said, “This semester, the College Dems have been talking a lot about what we can do within our community to create a positive change. In this time of political turmoil and divisiveness, we need to take a step back and realize that we are all people, and that there is a lot that we can agree upon to improve the conditions of people within our community.”
They will collecting gently used bras, packaged pads, tampons, and monetary donations to purchase items to donate to organizations that aid underprivileged people in Kent County.
The College Democrats wanted to invest their time in the donation drive because they wanted to foster dignity amongst people in need, and they believe that no one should have to choose between taking care of their families and themselves; they should be able to do both.
President of the College Democrats Heidi Butler said, “When we realized that this was a serious issue, everywhere but more specifically in our community, we decided we wanted to do something about it. We wanted a donation drive that students would be able to participate in easily, and women often have bras that no longer fit them or that they no longer wear, but they don’t want to throw them away because they are so costly. We realized how much of a difference we could make if all the women on our campus cleaned out their drawers and gave us even one bra they no longer wear.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that menstrual products and bras are items that can not only be donated, but are in fact some of the items most desperately needed by shelters and other charities. Menstrual products can be prohibitively expensive particularly for people who are struggling to make ends meet– especially since they aren’t covered by SNAP (food stamps),” said Ciaudella.
The club is working with the Kent County Democrats to help get the rest of Chestertown involved with the drive.
“We hope that initiatives like this will help people see feminine hygiene as an important issue impacting the health of many members of our community, and to view these products not as luxuries but as health necessities. Hopefully this will help facilitate a more open dialogue about how to help those in need in our community,” said Butler.
She hopes the club will do more events like this to raise awareness to problems that do not get the attention they deserve. The club is willing to team up with different clubs on campus as well to do events as well to address different issues to draw attention to them.
The College Democrats will also be collecting bras and menstrual products after spring break. If you do bring back items after the vacation period, the club asks for you to contact them through Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org) so they can come pick them up.
Ciaudella said, “We are thrilled with any amount that we are able to collect. So far, we have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from the faculty, staff, students, and community members. Since we will also be collecting donations after we return from Spring Break, we would love to be able to collect as many as 100 bras or more.”
“This is not a solely women’s issue, but a human issue, and as such we hope that community members of all genders will help us out in this effort,” said Butler.