IMPACT

This Group Is Bringing Tampons And Pads To Evacuees In Louisiana

This "hygiene bank" collects feminine hygiene products the way a food bank collects food.

The unprecedented flooding in Louisiana has driven about 11,000 people to shelters ― and though residents are being kept safe, they may not have access to shower facilities and basic hygiene products.

That’s why Simply the Basics, a “hygiene bank” based out of San Francisco, is assembling kits to send to shelters and community groups that are housing and providing services to evacuees. The kits contain tampons, pads, shampoo, lotion, deodorant and other everyday basics.

Simply the Basics, a group based out of San Francisco, donates tampons, pads and other hygiene products to people in need.
Simply the Basics, a group based out of San Francisco, donates tampons, pads and other hygiene products to people in need.

The group is reaching out to local groups directly to find out what they need and how they would like to receive the items. The goal is to improve hygiene at shelters to minimize health risks and allow evacuees to still feel dignified while seeking refuge.

“We will do the leg work, so they can focus on caring for the people,” Meghan Freebeck, CEO and founder, told The Huffington Post.

Freebeck first came up with the idea to start a hygiene bank last year when she launched a donation drive for feminine hygiene products to help homeless women in San Francisco. Within 48 hours, she had collected enough money and products to help every homeless female in the city, according to the organization’s website. 

“We remove the dehumanization of handouts.”
"We remove the dehumanization of handouts," founder and CEO Meghan Freebeck said of her group's work with people in need.
"We remove the dehumanization of handouts," founder and CEO Meghan Freebeck said of her group's work with people in need.

Menstruation is often one of the toughest challenges homeless women face.

Tampons and pads are expensive and rarely donated to shelters. Compounding the issue is the fact that these women often don’t have access to showers when they need them.

To date, Simply the Basics has donated 60,000 hygiene products to its partner organizations, which are mostly based in the Bay Area.

The organization plans on expanding to other U.S. cities by 2018 and will continue to respond to national disasters.

“We remove the dehumanization of handouts,” Freebeck said, “and empower our most underserved community members to have the dignity and benefits that come with good hygiene and choice.”

Learn more about Simply the Basics and how you can get involved here. 

  • In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundated the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in H
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundated the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Hammond, Louisiana. 
  • Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisian
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, Louisiana. 
  • This aerial photo over Hammond, Louisiana, shows flooded Hammond Eastside Elementary Magnet School and Hammond High Magnet Sc
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This aerial photo over Hammond, Louisiana, shows flooded Hammond Eastside Elementary Magnet School and Hammond High Magnet School. 
  • An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by water on Highway 190 near Holden, Louisiana. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by water on Highway 190 near Holden, Louisiana. 
  • In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded homes are seen off of the  LA-1064 highway. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded homes are seen off of the  LA-1064 highway. 
  • Army National Guard vehicles drive on flooded U.S. Route 190 in Robert, Louisiana. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Army National Guard vehicles drive on flooded U.S. Route 190 in Robert, Louisiana. 
  • A truck is submerged in Amite, Louisiana on Sunday Aug. 14, 2016.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A truck is submerged in Amite, Louisiana on Sunday Aug. 14, 2016.
  • An overturned truck in the floodwaters in Amite, Louisiana.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    An overturned truck in the floodwaters in Amite, Louisiana.
  • Floodwaters are seen in Amite, Louisiana.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    Floodwaters are seen in Amite, Louisiana.
  • Rescuers and evacuees stand on U.S. Route 190 in Robert, Louisiana. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Rescuers and evacuees stand on U.S. Route 190 in Robert, Louisiana. 
  • A member of the St. George Fire Department assists residents as they wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A member of the St. George Fire Department assists residents as they wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau Wein Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
  • Damage is seen in Amite, Louisiana.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    Damage is seen in Amite, Louisiana.
  • Boats refuel at a gas station as they rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, Louisiana. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Boats refuel at a gas station as they rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, Louisiana. 
  • Kevin Richmond, left, and Barbara Manuel and her two children Elliott, 8, center, and Emily, 5, right, are rescued by members
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Kevin Richmond, left, and Barbara Manuel and her two children Elliott, 8, center, and Emily, 5, right, are rescued by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, Louisiana. 
  • Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany River near their home in Baptist, Louisiana. 
  • Sgt. Brad Stone of the Louisiana Army National Guard gives safety instructions to people loaded on a truck after they were st
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sgt. Brad Stone of the Louisiana Army National Guard gives safety instructions to people loaded on a truck after they were stranded by rising floodwater near Walker, Louisiana. 
  • Residents wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau Wein Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Residents wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau Wein Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
  • The Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana is under water on Aug. 15, 2016.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    The Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana is under water on Aug. 15, 2016.
  • A concrete casket cover is tipped over by flood water in Springfield, Louisiana on Aug. 15, 2016.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A concrete casket cover is tipped over by flood water in Springfield, Louisiana on Aug. 15, 2016.
  • A grave is filled with water in a cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana on Aug. 15, 2016.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A grave is filled with water in a cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana on Aug. 15, 2016.
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