Chelsea Warner, 27, found herself in a position very familiar to many people in Los Angeles.
She was in traffic, stopped at a red light.
While she waited for the light to turn green, she noticed a homeless woman on the side of the road. Instantly, she knew that the woman was suffering from something all women share. She had her period.
A thought crossed her mind that probably has never crossed your own: What do homeless women do when they have their periods?
Warner contacted a shelter and found out that funding doesn't cover hygiene products, and shelters are much more likely to receive donations of toothbrushes and toilet paper than tampons and pads.
So, Warner decided she had to do something about it. She contacted her best friends and asked if they would help her put together bags filled with menstrual products to give to local shelters. They agreed.
The more she learned about this issue, though, the more she knew she needed to do something more.
"[Homeless women] get arrested because they're trying to steal pads. They're using crazy items like plastic from chip bags and trash. They load up on their clothing … because they know they're going to mess up their clothes," Warner told Elite Daily.
Warner's personal project soon grew into the #HappyPeriod movement.
She registered a nonprofit that expanded into other cities. Volunteers pack yellow, biodegradable bags filled with four panty liners, five pads, feminine wipes and two tampons. They then bring the bags to local homeless shelters or hand them out to women they see living on the street.
In the future, Warner hopes they'll be able to include soap and fresh underwear. Donating reusable menstrual cups also crossed her mind, but these are not ideal for homeless women who don't have access to running water. Instead, she'd like to eventually be able to donate them to women living in halfway houses.
Currently, Warner is trying to raise funding and awareness. She's set up a GoFundMe account in hopes of doing both. You can check it out below:
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