Rebecca Hatt, 14, of Biddeford, Maine, an eighth-grader at Biddeford Middle School, spearheaded a project to collect sanitary napkins and tampons for homeless women in her community. While searching for a project that her Girl Scout troop could undertake to help people, Rebecca came across a video on Facebook that addressed the fact that homeless women often lack access to feminine hygiene products. “Women’s reproductive health is important,” said Rebecca. “No one should have to choose between buying food for themselves and maintaining hygiene.” As she researched the problem, she learned that more than 50,000 women in the United States live on the streets, and that it appeared that even in her own community the number of homeless women was growing.
So Rebecca persuaded her Girl Scout troop to join her in what she called “Project Confidence.” They began by collecting bottles from school, family and friends, and then recycled them and used the proceeds to buy feminine hygiene products. The troop also hosted a carnival to raise funds, and clipped coupons to obtain store discounts. Once they had a supply of products, Rebecca and her fellow volunteers distributed them to a teen center, soup kitchens, churches and other organizations that work with low-income and homeless women. Rebecca also took it upon herself to monitor the donations and replenish them as needed. Thanks to Rebecca’s idea, her troop has distributed more than 100 packages of pads and tampons in her town to women who need them. “If they are homeless, then they are struggling to come up with enough money to eat,” said Rebecca. “I think my project will help take one stress off of homeless women in my community.”