A Clarion University graduate student is collecting personal care and menstrual products for girls in the foster care system in Jefferson County.
Kendall Watts '21 is a first-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program who wanted to give back to the community and one issue stood out to her.
"Period poverty is something that is very real and very common. A lot of people do not realize that some individuals must choose things such as food or clean clothes over these necessary period products," Watts said.
One of the most at-risk groups for period poverty is girls in the foster care system and Social Equity Director Amy Salsgiver suggested Watts donate the items to Children and Youth Services.
"I loved this idea. A lot of the girls in this system do not have access to these products when they are placed somewhere. I think it is important that they have what they need when moving on to this new chapter in their life."
So far, the university has donated to the cause.
"My room is filled with donations right now. There are still boxes on campus that need to be emptied as well. I was so pleased with all the donations and support I received throughout this whole process. I have collected pads, tampons, new and gently used bras, razors, deodorant, natural hair care products and much more! I have also collected over $300 in monetary donations. I will use this money to go buy general hygiene and menstrual care products to donate."
Watts will collect items until the end of November when Melissa George from Jefferson County CYS comes to collect the donations. Collection boxes are found on campus and monetary donations can be given to Watts by contacting her via email at K.G.Watts@eagle.clarion.edu.
She plans to conduct another Her Drive in the spring semester with the hope that she can expand the counties that receive the donations.
"I want to be able to help make an impact on this issue to help decrease period poverty at least locally, for now. I hope these products will provide individuals with a sense of relief and comfort as they will not need to choose between buying period products or other necessary items."
Watts also hopes Her Drive is something that will continue long after she graduates.
"I hope someone will continue this charity once I leave Clarion or inspire others to do something similar in their hometown or their university community. This is something that is really important to me. I am very fortunate to be able to afford period products and I want to share this feeling with as many people as I can."