Share the Dignity urgently calls on Australians to donate period products

01 Aug 2023

Share the Dignity needs donations to their August Dignity Drive to ensure people don’t have to make do with socks, toilet paper or newspaper

With the rate of women and girls experiencing homeless and poverty increasing, Share the Dignity is urgently needing period product donations for their biannual Dignity Drive to ensure those without a place to call home don’t also have to go without the most basic of essentials, period products. 

The number of women and girls experiencing homelessness is on the rise with a 10 per cent increase reported since 2016 with the majority (40 per cent) citing domestic violence as the primary reason. 

Women and girls appear to be disproportionately affected by social issues with research also finding 53 per cent (1,754,000) of those living below the poverty line are women and girls; that’s enough people to fill the largest stadium in Australia, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 17 times over. 

Unfortunately, when women, girls and people with a period can’t afford period products research has shown they leave in period products for longer than recommended or improvise with items like socks, toilet paper, or newspaper. 

Share the Dignity is aiming to collect at least 200,000 period products to ensure those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, domestic violence or poverty don’t have to risk their health and go through the indignity of using other items in place of period products.

Share the Dignity’s Dignity Drives allow people to donate period products to ensure people have access to the most basic of essentials. All donations will be distributed by volunteers to Share the Dignity’s 3000+ charity partners including homeless and domestic violence shelters along with other organisations helping our most vulnerable community members. 

Throughout August, Woolworths will donate 5 cents from the sale of every period product purchased to help fund Share the Dignity’s Dignity Vending Machines, with more than $2.5 million donated since the partnership began. 

Pink collection boxes will also be available in Woolworths supermarkets across Australia for the donation of period products. 

Share the Dignity Founder and Managing Director Rochelle Courtenay said she hopes Share the Dignity can collect enough period products as she hears an increasing number of heartbreaking stories from those suffering the implications of living below the poverty line.

“At a recent Signal Flare event a father and his nine-year-old girl came up to our stall and he shared how his daughter had started her first period two days earlier. He was heartbroken trying to explain how it was the last thing they expected so soon after being forced to live on the streets,” Ms Courtenay said. 

“Thankfully period product donations from the community allowed us to provide them with a six-month supply of pads as well as a toiletry bag. When we handed them over relief washed over his face knowing she had the supplies she needed whilst he worked to find a safe place for them to stay.

“I wish this was the first time I have heard a heartbreaking story like this but unfortunately, it is all too common. If you have the means to do so, I urge you to drop period products into our collection points nationwide, you never know what someone is going through and at the very least let’s ensure they can manage their period with dignity.” 

Since 2019, Woolworths’ donations have helped fund 107 of Share the Dignity’s Dignity Vending Machines, which dispense free packs of pads and tampons, and are located in community centres, homeless hubs, charities, Aboriginal Medical Services, hospitals and other areas where there is a need across Australia. 

Woolworths Head of Community and Sponsorships, Sarah De La Mare, said: “We’re proud to continue our partnership with Share the Dignity and support the meaningful change they are creating. 

“As the August Dignity Drive begins, we’re also excited to launch a range of offers on personal care items for our customers, and we hope the support of this campaign can help Share the Dignity continue to reach new goals in its efforts to provide menstrual equity for all.”

Supporters can help someone in need by dropping off period products at any Woolworths supermarket or a number of nominated businesses nationwide throughout August. Alternatively, you can donate via the Share the Dignity website.

Share the Dignity strongly believes those experiencing period poverty should be able to use their preferred period product, so collect all period products in their original packaging including pads, tampons, menstrual cups, period undies, reusable pads, as well as incontinence aids.