The Smart Girls in the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County saw a need and wanted to address it — helping low-income women afford the products they need.
“Smart Girls is basically a group of girls that are aging, learning about their body and learning about leaders in the community,” said one the girls in the group, Aaliyah Parker.
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County saw that Allstate has been running a program called the Purple Purse Project since 2005 as a way to help women and victims of domestic violence.
Smart Girls decided they wanted to help, too, and started their own version of the project.
“We noticed (Allstate was) doing a fundraiser to collect items for women, especially women who are survivors of domestic violence, so that they have a safe way out and so they provide financial assistance but then also hygiene products,” said Tenisha King, area director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County.
Smart Girls Parker, Cameron Johnson and Kamori Watson started collecting feminine hygiene products for women who were victims of domestic violence or who couldn’t afford them.
“They wanted to help with what we call period poverty,” King said. “… and because we saw that Purple Purse was also being done in October, we decided to collaborate instead of compete. ...”
King said that the girls do a lot of work to raise awareness for their project from making signs to approaching businesses.
“Never take anything for granted that you have,” Johnson said. “And always donate because it can help a lot of people.”
Two local businesses — Momma Mocha’s and Honestly Smooth — have allowed the girls to leave collection boxes inside.
“One in five girls in the U.S. is kept out of school during their monthly cycle, and so we know that there is a big need,” King said.
The national Purple Purse fundraiser is normally held in October, but the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County has extended it.
“There’s still a great need for some of those products, and so, because we’re still collecting some items, we are not ending it yet,” King said.
Once the girls have received enough donations, some will go back to the local Allstate agent who has identified in-need organizations, King said.
“Why keep stuff that you don’t need,” Johnson said. “You can give it away to people who actually need it.”
Other donation items will be used for people in the area who need them and, she said, some will even be given to girls in the club who might not be able to afford their own.
“(It is rewarding) just seeing our girls just be so passionate about helping out other girls and just seeing the potential for the next group of young leaders,” King said.
Two other girls in the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County, Shamaree Fluellen and Katlyn Brooks, decided to collect other types of items as well for homeless in the area.
Fluellen said that her mother saw a discussion on Facebook about homeless people who were stuck outside in the cold.
“We were in the house just having fun and having heat,” she said. “Other people, homeless people don’t have the things that we have.”