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Club collects feminine products for patients

| Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Notre Dames is asking students to help pad boxes with feminine hygiene products for the next two weeks in an initiative — the Code Red Collection — to donate the products to patients at the Sister Maura Brannick, C.S.C., Health Center who cannot afford these items.

Senior Alison Leddy, founder and president of Notre Dames, said this is the group’s second service project of the year.

“Something new this year is we’ve been trying to do a lot more service, so this Code Red Collection is our service event for this semester,” Leddy said. “Last semester, we did an event called Blankets for Breast Cancer, so we tied fleece blankets, and we donated them to women who were recently diagnosed at the Moreau Breast Cure Center.”

While many people cannot fathom being unable to afford feminine hygiene products, it is a widespread societal issue that deserves attention, Leddy said.

“I had been to a presentation by a Notre Dame alumna, and she started an organization called SHE, which is Sustainable Health Enterprises, which focuses on helping women and girls in Rwanda and Kenya being able to manufacture and use their own feminine products,” she said. “Sitting there, realizing that that’s such a form of privilege that I had never really known, or acknowledged in the past, I think that to me it was kind of jarring. … We kind of want Notre Dame to pause and to think about that.”

Senior Brianna Prusakowski, vice president of Notre Dames, said the group has taken steps to allow people off campus or those who might feel uncomfortable donating feminine products to contribute to the cause.

“We currently have a Facebook event up that includes a link to our student shop for people that would prefer to donate money, or [for] people that aren’t here,” Prusakowski said. “We’re reaching out to ND Women Connect so that they can reach out to their local chapters. … If those groups want to mail us products, or if they want to donate money, we’re open to that.”

Prusakowski said Notre Dames hopes people who do not need to use feminine products understand the significance of the issue and choose to assist the group in its efforts in some way.

“I think the vision with this, as well as with Dames in general, is that a lot of the things we talk about, this in particular, is not restricted to a women’s issue — it’s a health issue,” she said. “We want to be open and inclusive to all people who care about [this], which we would hope would be everyone. … It’s important, and we need a lot of help on this because we can donate all we want, but we need on a larger scale.”

Leddy said she would like this event to open up greater discussion on the topic of menstruation. She also encouraged students to attend the group’s weekly meetings on Tuesday nights to learn more about why this problem exists.

“That fact that there is such a stigma on even saying the word ‘period,’ then we lose a chance or an opportunity to really talk about the issues that come with that and thinking about policy-related things,” Leddy said. “People are welcome to come to our Talk it Out Tuesday discussion [in the Dooley Room at LaFortune] to learn a little bit more about this as sort of a broader, societal issue, and also, just talk about the stigma and about the realities of menstruation, which we don’t really talk enough about — but they exist.”

Notre Dames will be taking donations Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. outside the Dooley Room and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. in the elevator lobby of LaFortune.

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a junior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, and currently serving as News Editor. She is a proud resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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