The number of homeless and low-income women increases each year in our community. Many require the use of feminine hygiene products each month, the cost of which is not covered by SNAP (food stamps) and too expensive for many women to afford. Women4Women Tempe believes these items should be available to those women who need them. Our mission is to help homeless and low-income women in Tempe maintain their dignity, self-respect and health by distributing feminine hygiene products to those in need.
Women4Women Tempe, Inc. began to be a reality in December, 2016, when I was listening to a program on NPR about a woman who was providing feminine hygiene products to women on the streets of Dallas, TX. Up until I heard that program, I had never thought about how difficult it would be to be a woman living on the street and to have a period. What would a woman do? I couldn’t quite come to grips with the fact that a basic female need was not being addressed for women living on the street in my city. But after talking with officials in Tempe, I found out nothing was really being done, so a very special core of women, Karen Merrell, Sandy Hume, Barbara Mishler, Sue Ringler, and I decided to make it happen.
Later on, I was listening to another program on NPR about how expensive feminine products are and how difficult it is for women with limited income to afford these products. We all talked about this, and decided we would make these products available to whomever needed them…no qualifying, no registering, no questions. If a woman wanted a bag, she would get a bag, or two, whatever she felt she needed. No questions.
We started by partnering with Tempe Community Action Agency, an agency where I had volunteered in the food pantry for a few years, and they have become a huge partner with us. Through that partnership, we received the initial donations and contacted the I-HELP congregations in Tempe, and two of these communities had donation drives, and that gave us enough products to begin making bags.
We also partnered with my church, Guardian Angels Catholic Community and they accepted us as a Ministry under them. With the backing of TCAA and GA, we were ready to begin.
We distributed our first 20 bags on August 30. 2017, at TCAA and Tempe First United Methodist Urban Outreach Program. From that time until December, 2017, we distributed 838 bags.
In the spring of 2018, we were asked to participate in the Tempe Care Fair, which brought together agencies, organizations, etc. which provide services to people in our community with special needs. At that time, we met someone who offered to help us become a 501(c)3, and we received that status July 3, 2018.
In 2018, we distributed 6,351 bags, and as of June 13, 2019 we have distributed 4,466 bags to women through over 25 distribution sites, so we are continuing our mission of helping women maintain their dignity and health. Period!
~ Kay Wright
Meet the team
Sandy Hume, Treasurer
Barbara Mishler, Secretary
Kay Wright, President
Sue Ringler, Member at Large
Karen Merrell, Member at Large
David Reynolds, Member at Large