News / Edmonton

Edmonton woman starts campaign to provide tampons to women in homeless shelters

After a brief chat with a homeless woman, Scarlet Bjornson said she realized there was a need for the basic hygiene products.

Scarlet Bjornson has learned these basic necessities are often the first thing to run out at shelters.

Kashmala Fida / Metro Order this photo

Scarlet Bjornson has learned these basic necessities are often the first thing to run out at shelters.

Scarlet Bjornson was walking down the street last month when a homeless woman asked her for change—not for food or clothing, but for tampons.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said. “I always keep a couple of dollars in my coffee cup holder, so I don’t know what compelled me to ask.”

Bjornson said she never thought about how such a basic necessity would be so difficult to get for some people.

“For myself, I have the ability to go buy them when I need them, I have never had to choose between getting a sandwich, you know, I have both options available to me.”

Bjornson, a real estate agent, went home and posted on facebook about the woman she’d met, and within 12 hours, she and a few friends had decided to start a new campaign they’re calling ‘No Woman Without’.

They’re going to be running a tampon drive from Nov 1 to 15, and raising awareness of how tough it can be to have your period on the street.

She said she’s spoken with several shelters that told her that they run out of feminine hygiene products faster than almost any other supply, leaving women with few options.

“They’ll go into a public restroom and wad out a lot of toilet paper but that’s still not ideal,” she said.  

“None of us women ask to have our period, none of us ask for it, and it can cost a lot of money, especially if you are on welfare and if you have teenagers at home...I just want to take a little bit of pressure off of the already very stressful situation.”

Anyone interested in donating boxes or packs of feminine hygiene products can take them to any of the six locations listed on the campaign’s website, nowomanwithout.com

“The response that I have had so far has been overwhelming, from men and from women, it’s been fantastic,” Bjornson said. “I’m getting calls and I’m getting messages and emails and it’s just really wonderful.”

“I feel really good about it, it’s something that I don’t think is addressed enough,” she said.

“It’s a problem that needs a little bit of light shed. Most of people are like, ‘oh, I never thought of that,’ you think of food, you think of clothes, but never that.”

Bjornson said once the boxes are filled, they will be taken to two Edmonton women’s shelters, WIN House and Lurana Shelter.

She said if the drive was a success, they plan on becoming a non-profit and organizing the drive on a more frequent basis throughout the year.  

Locations for drop off:

Schmidt Realty Group Inc.

(4736 99 street)

Kyle Loranger Design

(205 10132 124 street )

Modern Muse Media

(9650 20 Ave NW #213)

The Briefing Room

(10151 82 Ave NW)

Jigsaw for Hair

(10215 109 St NW)

MHK Insurance

(12316 107 Ave)

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