Windsor

Reusable menstrual cups a valuable gift for Windsor's homeless

Street Help homeless centre on Wyandotte Street will be handing out Diva Cups thanks to a charity campaign spearheaded by ShopEco, the beauty and gift store located in Walkerville.
Donations of feminine hygiene products are a valuable gift for Windsor's homeless women, according to Christine Wilson-Furlonger, administrator at Street Help. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Silicone menstrual cups are once again being donated to Windsor's homeless women, who struggle to afford feminine hygiene products.

Street Help homeless centre on Wyandotte Street will be handing out Diva Cups in the coming weeks thanks to the second year of a charity campaign spearheaded by ShopEco, a beauty and gift store located in Walkerville.

The store owner partnered with cup maker Diva International Inc. to donate the cups. Social-service providers told CBC News that women regularly ask for feminine hygiene products, but supplies are not consistent.

"They're an incredible gift to a homeless woman," said Christine Wilson-Furlonger, administrator at Street Help.

Social service providers in Windsor say homeless women in Windsor are in need of feminine hygiene products. (CBC/Stacey Janzer)

Because Diva Cups are reusable, they are extremely valuable for women who can't afford to buy more traditional products that can be expensive.

"For a woman who's homeless, this is a product that's reusable," Wilson-Furlonger said. "It's a very small item she can carry with her and she doesn't have to worry about running out of product at any time."

For every Diva Cup sold at ShopEco, Diva International has agreed to donate one cup to Street Help. 

Wilson-Furlong explained that even asking for feminine hygiene products can be difficult for women.

"It can be very distressing for some people to even think of the menstrual cycle at all," she said. "It's not a man-friendly topic necessarily because they don't understand."

Donate double

A ShopEco employee came up with the idea to donate the cups. Store owner Debra Purdy hopes to double the 22 items donated last year.

"It's something that we don't think about when we're donating to homeless shelters, or homeless assistance organizations, but it's very, very important for the women finding help there," she said.

The Salvation Army in downtown Windsor sees regular demand for feminine hygiene products. Major Paul Rideout hopes donors think to give these items when making donations.

"I believe that it's a need that's important and if we could find people that would donate those items to us, we'd be glad to be distributors of those to the people who need them," he said.

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