PITTSBURGH — A nonprofit organization is helping homeless women in the Pittsburgh area by providing them with personal-care supplies.
SisterFriend gives out small brown bags filled with feminine-hygiene products and a note of encouragement.
Enid Johnson and her fellow Silver Sneaker members volunteered at the Homewood Brushton YMCA to assemble the bags for SisterFriend.
"There's women that are homeless and they can use these products," Johnson said.
"What we packed up today was tampons and pads for women in need, homeless women and young mothers, so they can feel good about themselves," added Marcia Raines.
Tamara Whiting founded SisterFriend about a year ago.
"A group of friends got together and said, ‘We want to make a difference.’ We know that feminine-care products were one of the things not donated to shelters. We actually provide pads, tampons, adult-incontinence pads, new bras and new panties to these women and girls," Whiting said.
Whiting first noticed the need while working as an independent contractor at Bethlehem Haven, which offers shelter and health services to needy women in Uptown.
Bethlehem Haven was the first community partner for SisterFriend.
"We receive a lot of donations, but one of the things we don't get a lot of is feminine hygiene products. That's something the women need on an ongoing basis," Amber Jackson, Bethlehem Haven’s volunteer development coordinator, said.
Shelters and after-school programs also are turning to SisterFriend, because feminine-hygiene products are very expensive and the need doesn't stop.
"These are also important because a lot of these girls are missing school because they don't have these products," Whiting said. "We want to make sure that there's no barrier to a young woman's education."
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