West County club collects donations to address ‘period poverty’

By Elsa Cavazos, Staff Writer , SoCoNews, February 17, 2022

west county mental health club

Members of the West County High School Mental Health Club sit outside of Rust Boutique on Feb. 12, collecting feminine hygiene products, bras and other personal care items. (Photo Elsa Cavazos)

Last weekend, the West County High School Mental Health Club gathered outside Rust Boutique in Sebastopol to raise funds and collect personal hygiene products and new and lightly used bras in an effort to combat “period poverty.” Club members asked for cash donations and items to donate to Catholic Charities on Feb.12.

“There are necessities that women need at least a couple times a month. They’re one of the most expensive things. So people can’t really afford to do that if they’re having to choose between food and, like, a tampon,” said Natalie Mora, who came up with the idea to host the collection drive.

The idea began Mora spoke with her therapist about how anxious she felt going to places at times. The conversation progressed into one about homelessness and “the need of period products and bras in our community,” Mora said. “Then I thought that it would be a good idea to give back to those because those are products that people don’t think about giving to homeless shelters.”

The club, then named the Analy Mental Health Club, hosted its first “End Period Poverty” collection event on Valentine’s Day last year.

“I’m really excited about that because it’s our second year doing it. We’re really excited to just hopefully make it even bigger than it was last year. Last year, we donated, I think, over 500 products to Catholic Charities, which was really exciting. It was just so awesome to see how the community helps and how helpful everyone was and eager,” Alexa Piña said.

Eddie Borba, also a part of the club, was in attendance to help with the poverty drive. Borba said he believed the cause to be of high importance.

“I think it’s a really important thing that a lot of women have to deal with. Because it’s something that I think things like the tampon tax and stuff like that, create an extra barrier for people trying to just live their life and make themselves feel clean and stuff and this provides that for them,” Borba said.

Frankie Grimm transferred to West County during her junior year and joined the club to find a sense of community.

“I wanted to know more people because I was fresh to the community. And I wanted to widen my range. Because with online learning, I only knew about the same 20 people because of my classes. So I got to meet more people in different grades,” Grimm said.

For her, being a part of the club allows her and other members to talk to one another to relieve stress.

“We air out our grievances or a stress that we’re having that week. We all kind of have this shared feeling a lot of us are seniors. So we all have that kind of shared senior tis. But we’re also kind of talking to the younger kids and getting their perspective, especially with the consolidation and the stress that has come from that and from outside virtual learning,” she said.

Among the donations there were pads, tampons, gently used or new bras, deodorant, toothpaste and other hygiene products.

“I think we like to do a lot of community outreach and not only support our peers and our schools mental health, but supporting the wider health of the community and not just their mental but also physical. So we like to kind of put our energy where we can and we can come together,” she said.

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