University of Windsor students Renee Wulterkens and Isabella Arthur have created a drive to help provide the necessities needed by underprivileged women in Essex County.
While in lockdown, Wulterkens and Arthur said they looked for ways they could volunteer within their community, but struggled to find anything available with Covid-19 still being a threat. Instead of giving up their efforts, the duo started their own volunteer-run campaign, the She Support Drive.
“We are both 19-year-old women, and we wanted to reach out and set up with other women in our community,” said Arthur. “We found that there’s a huge need for these products locally and shelters for women really struggle to get donations on a month-to-month basis. So we thought we would help out it all really inspired us … We both understand as women, the empowerment and confidence you feel when you have a well-fitting bra, or how good you feel in the morning when you have access to the hygiene items and menstrual items you need. Those kinds of things on a day-to-day basis are important and something people often take for granted.”
Their goal is to collect as many funds, hygiene, and menstrual products as possible for local women’s shelters.
In 2021, the campaign made its first-ever donation, with the help of over 20 local Shoppers Drug Marts, which included;
- 150 bottles of each shampoo, conditioner, body wash deodorant and razers
- 96 two-pack of socks
- 60 hairbrushes
- 48 pregnancy tests
- A cheque for $5,726
Alone, the group also raised additional donations of hygiene products as well as over 930 bras.
“For the most part, I never in my life before starting this campaign thought about what the means are to access a bra, or underwear or soft tampons pads,” said Wulterkens. “It’s never been something that has really impacted me, but learning about the impact of it has been such an eye-opening experience.”
They are asking for volunteers to help pick up available donations, and are even offering the opportunity to high school students looking to gain volunteer hours. Only requirements include;
- Volunteers must live in Windsor-Essex County
- Volunteers must have reliable transportation for specific dates
Drop-off locations for donations in LaSalle include the Parlour and Starbucks, Malden Rd – with many more locations across Windsor and Essex County. To have donations picked up, you can apply on the She Support Drive website.
This year, they have already raised almost $12,000 to donate to local shelters that are offering programs for women facing homelessness, abuse and poverty. As well as almost 20,000 pads and tampons and 4,000 hygiene items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and more.
The campaign isn’t just sticking local either. On Feb 11, Arthur and Wulterkens announced London has created their own branch of She Support Drive as well, carrying on the goal to help as many women as possible.
“Our goal is to try to expand across Ontario and reach bigger cities where there’s even more homelessness and even more of an issue for period poverty,” said Wulterkens.”Last year, we had no idea what to expect when we went into collecting and starting our drive. The momentum that we had by the end of that drive was so exciting. So this year, we want to expand as much as we can. We’re working with more businesses, we’re working with more people. Now they is going to be women’s shelters in London that are being supported, and that has really made us want to see this drive get even bigger, and cover more ground.”