Concordia students create a fundraiser for local women’s shelter
Two Concordia students created a campaign to collect female hygiene products for the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion women’s shelter with the aim of helping homeless women get through the winter months.
The fundraiser, spearheaded by Veronica Rios-Rodriguez, a fine arts major, and Julia Sutera Sardo, the vice president of internal affairs and administration for the Arts and Science Faculty of Arts (ASFA), is calling all Concordia students to get involved.
Rios-Rodriguez reached out to Sutera Sardo to launch the hygiene product drive after watching a documentary on women and homelessness called How do Homeless Women Cope With Their Periods?
“After watching the documentary on homelessness, I was heartbroken,” said Rios-Rodriguez. “It made me wonder what we could do as students to help these women out.”
The video showed women struggling each month to find female hygiene products due to the high cost. “One woman in particular talked about how the cheapest package of pads were $7 each, which was enough money to also cover one meal for her and her partner,” said Rios Rodriguez.
Rios Rodriguez’s did more research on female homelessness and called Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion—a women’s shelter on De Maisonneuve Boulevard, which is part of The Old Brewery Mission—to find out what she could do as a student to help the women at the shelter.
The Old Brewery Mission operates seven pavilions in Montreal. According to their website, they offer a variety of social services to over 4,000 homeless men and women every year. They state while most homeless individuals are men, there are a growing number of homeless women.
“We want to make sure that women never have to choose between eating a meal and buying female hygiene products,” she said about the purpose of the campaign.
Rios-Rodriguez reached out to Sutera Sardo, who directly represents more than 30 departmental student organizations within the Faculty of Arts and Science, with the hope of getting more people involved and sharing the message on different Concordia student Facebook pages.
“Many students from a variety of different programs have reached out to us on Facebook or have stopped by my office to get involved,” said Sutera Sardo. Students can drop off soap, tooth paste, pads, tampons, shampoo and other products at her office on the fourth floor of the EN Building on Mackay, any day between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sir George William Campus.
“During the winter months, we realize how hard it is for women in the shelter and we hope that providing them with feminine hygiene products will help,” said Sutera Sardo. She and Rios-Rodriguez will deliver all the collected items to the shelter around Christmas.
“What’s important is helping people all the time, and we hope to continue this throughout the year,” Sutera Sardo told The Concordian. She also hopes the campaign will raise awareness about how expensive feminine hygiene products can be.
The Canadian government has removed the GST tax on female hygiene products such as tampons and pads as of July 1, 2015, to help make these products more affordable for women.