A drive organized by students who live on Magis Row is set to donate feminine hygiene products to Thrive D.C., a nonprofit organization and the sole provider of homeless services in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 1.

Magis Row, the 16 townhouses located mostly on 36th Street, is one of Georgetown’s independent Living Learning Communities. Reflecting on the Jesuit value of “magis,” residents of Magis Row strive to pursue individual passions while contemplating how to ask “more” of themselves and others, according to the Georgetown University Residential Living website. In line with this core ideal, the Agape, Men’s Socioeconomic Ties and Network of Dialogue, Queen, Frontier and Women in Tech houses sponsored this weeklong drive.

ANNE STONECIPHER FOR THE HOYA Students living on Magis Row, one of Georgetown’s independent Living Learning Communities, conducted a feminine hygiene product drive from Oct. 9 through Oct. 16. The donations were delivered to Thrive D.C., a nonprofit benefitting D.C. Ward 1 residents who are experiencing homelessness.

Starting Oct. 9, the Magis Row houses set up a donation station outside of the Agape House on 37th Street to collect individually wrapped pads and tampons; the drive ran through midnight Oct. 16.

Magis Row is set to deliver the supplies to Thrive D.C. at the conclusion of the drive. Founded in 1979 to serve dinner to women experiencing homelessness, Thrive D.C. has grown to become a comprehensive, professionally staffed organization providing a wide range of services to more than 2,000 men, women and children each year.

Feminine hygiene products are often overlooked when assessing the needs of people experiencing homelessness, said Kate Rogers (NHS ’20), co-president of the Georgetown Period Empowerment Project, a student organization that seeks to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene.

“Menstrual products are very expensive, and they are one of the least donated products,” Rogers said. “Without adequate menstrual hygiene, many people are forced to stay home from school or work, and it becomes a vicious cycle.”

Many basic necessities like groceries are tax-exempt in states across the country to prevent excessive costs from harming individuals with lower income, according to The New York Times, but feminine hygiene products used to manage menstrual flow are subject to a value-added tax. Their cost can often be prohibitive for women who are struggling financially, according to Thrive D.C.’s website.

“We really wanted to find a need in the DC community that was not already being met,” Agape resident Ellie Staab (COL ’20) wrote in an email to the Hoya. “Often times homeless shelters receive donations of food, clothing and personal hygiene items such as shampoo or toothpaste. Rarely do they receive donations of feminine hygiene products.”

Through this drive, Staab said, Magis Row aimed to not only collect products for Thrive D.C. but also raise awareness of this issue, which is often considered taboo and goes undiscussed.

Menstruation products are a major component of Thrive D.C.’s aid. The organization has specifically sought donations for tampons and heavy flow/overnight maxi pads.

Many women go without sanitary products because they are too embarrassed to ask for them, forget to get some at a shelter or are unable to obtain the type of product they needed, according to Thrive D.C.’s website.

Georgetown University students sponsored a similar drive last December. As a project for the course “The Political Economy of Entrepreneurship,” students donated 810 tampons and pads to Thrive D.C.

Staab hopes future Georgetown students will continue to stay involved with this cause.

“I think this is definitely something we would consider doing again,” Staab wrote. “Homeless shelters have so many unmet needs besides lack of feminine hygiene products, that this is really just a start.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*