women4women tempe

Nonprofit of the Month: Women4Women Tempe, Inc.

Women4Women Tempe, Inc. was founded with a mission to distribute feminine hygiene products to unhoused and low-income women who might have difficulty affording such items. Here, Kay Wright, co-founder and president, discusses how the nonprofit got its start and how readers can get involved with Women4Women Tempe, Inc.

What prompted the start of the nonprofit? I was listening to a segment on NPR about a woman who was distributing feminine hygiene products to women living on the streets in Dallas. I had volunteered at several food banks which serve homeless people but had never thought about how terrible it would be to live on the streets and have your period…what would you do? After talking to friends, several of us decided to look into it further. We talked to people who worked with the homeless in Tempe, but there were no programs which dealt with this very specific need. Several core friends and I decided to do something, and we started Women4Women Tempe, Inc. We began by distributing to several nonprofits which already provided services for our target population, where several of us already volunteered.

What is the greatest reward in being involved with the nonprofit? Thinking about being a woman, living on the streets or being unable to afford menstrual products is very disturbing. The one thing many of us take for granted is that we can afford pads or tampons when we need them, and every woman can imagine what life would be like if we did not have access to the products. Many organizations have food drives, backpack drives, clothing drives, but the very specific needs of women are often not even considered. Women4Women Tempe is meeting these specific needs of women, and that is very rewarding.

What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? Women4Women Tempe has experienced significant growth this past year. In 2021, we distributed 19,581 bags, and we distributed 24,970 this year, through November, so our biggest challenge at this time is maintaining our commitment to our partner agencies, and women, that our bags will be available when they are needed. Each of our bags has 12 pads or 12 tampons, six pantiliners, feminine wipes and hand wipes, so it’s a challenge just to provide the products.

In what ways, if any, has the pandemic affected Women4Women? Before COVID, our bags were assembled by groups of women from churches, book clubs, high school groups, etc., and when those options were not available, families, small groups and individuals began assembling the bags, and we were able to continue to meet the demand for our services. We also experienced an increase in financial donations, which greatly helped us because we did not receive as many donations of products during the pandemic. We are now totally back to normal.

What are your goals for 2023? Our goal for the next year is to continue to supply products to whomever needs them. We are adding partner agencies every month, and each site is very important to us to supply them with whatever there women need.

How can readers help? We always need donations and supplies, as well as people to assemble bags. We really are a very basic organization. We are all volunteer and the only expense we have that does not go directly into our bags is $596 for our two storage units, so any money donated directly positively impacts women’s lives, as do all donations of pads, tampons, liners, hand wipes and feminine wipes.

Does the nonprofit have any events or fundraisers on the horizon? We do not do any huge fundraising events. We celebrate our anniversary in September, and that’s when we ask for donations. We are also eligible for the Arizona State Tax Credit, which also has benefited us. We love for companies to have donation drives and packing parties to help support us.

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