Memphian starts nonprofit to provide hygiene help for women in need

Memphian starts nonprofit to provide hygiene help for women in need

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - When many of us think of the homeless and those living in poverty, the need for food and shelter often come to mind first.

But for women, not having access to feminine care can not only be an extremely uncomfortable situation, but one that could cause additional health risks, as well.

A light bulb went off for Memphian Eli Cloud in fall of 2014.

Cloud was told a story of a homeless woman who fell asleep outside a local business, and woke up to an embarrassing situation by a police officer. The woman had no way of getting cleaned up.

"I started looking into what homeless women do when they have their period," Cloud said. "I couldn't find any consistency."

Cloud said she spoke with different shelters around town, looking for answers.

"If you're homeless and on the streets, there wasn't really anything," she said. "A lot of these shelters are coming out of a budget already stretched so thin ... These are things people don't think about donating."

Cloud also found out feminine hygiene products are not included in food stamp programs.

Cloud decided to do something, and through the help of her church, Shady Grove Presbyterian, she co-founded "Sister Supply" with Nikii Richey.

Sister Supply, now a subsidiary of the church, provides women and girls who are homeless, or in poverty, with feminine products and underwear.

"The problems extend beyond homeless and girls living in poverty," Cloud said. "Some teachers have girls who drop out. They keep missing school because they don't have what they need. I knew I needed to do something. I felt like this was something I was supposed to do."

Sister Supply launched in April, and has already raised $5,000.

The group is accepting personal donations of products and monetary donations, and hopes to finalize a bulk purchase of products from the money raised so far within the next few weeks.

Sister Supply is distributing those products to organizations already serving the community, including Community Alliance for the Homeless downtown, and Trinity Community Coalition.

"Once we become sustainable, we hope to add more (organizations) and go to neighborhood groups," Cloud said.

Companies and organizations can hold product drives at work, and Sister Supply will pick them up and deliver the products.

Shady Grove Presbyterian Church is currently accepting donations for Sister Supply, as well.

"We just want the community to be aware (of the problem)," Cloud said.

Cloud is looking for a sustainable sponsor, and vendors to negotiate lower rates for products.

A benefit concert will be held for Sister Supply June 19 at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church, 5530 Shady Grove Rd., Memphis, TN 38120.

How to help

DONATE: Go to http://www.sistersupply.org to make a tax-deductible donation or mail a check to 5530 Shady Grove Rd., Memphis, TN 38120.

SHARE: Spread the word and send the link above to your friends.

CONNECT: Sister Supply is seeking product donations from manufacturers and distributors to stock our shelves. If you, or someone you know, is in a position to donate products please contact Eli Cloud at 901-871-3713 or eli.cloud@gmail.com.

COLLECT: Hold a product drive at your workplace, home, church, etc. to collect boxes of tampons, pads, incontinence garments and packages of underwear. To make delivery or pick-up arrangements, contact Nikii Richey at 901-484-6154 or nikiirichey@gmail.com For more information on Sister Supply and how to help, visit http://www.sistersupply.org or visit http://www.facebook.com/sistersupply

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