Joshua Shurtleff, left, Ambrosia Pardue- Lee, Senta Odette, and shop owner, Jessica Tingwald, are involved with the Denver-based nonprofit Period Kits project. The Peaceful Poppy Med Spa, at 356 and one half Main Street, is a drop off site for period kits which will include tampons, pads and other supplies, that will be given to the OUR Center to help homeless and struggling women. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Periods — a burdensome affair for any woman — can often be even more challenging to deal with for those facing poverty or homelessness.

That’s why Ambrosia Pardue-Lee, through a framework set up by Denver-based nonprofit Period Kits, is planning an event Feb. 9 to bundle together pads, tampons, underwear and feminine wipes to help women in need.

Pardue-Lee, who said she’s “spearheading the Longmont area” for the organization, has always had a passion for helping the homeless and needy, but didn’t think much about the need for feminine products until recently.

“In reality, it doesn’t cost that much, and that just kind of… solidifies the fact of how poor these women are (that) they can’t afford that,” she said.

The kits that Pardue-Lee and others will assemble next month contain 40 tampons, 20 pads and 20 liners in addition to underwear, according to Period Kits Executive Director Geoff Davis, and all of them will stay in Longmont.

Most will be donated to The OUR Center, while 20% of all kits assembled, Davis said, are given out on the street.

Marc Cowell, the executive director of The OUR Center, said that feminine hygiene products are an area where the nonprofit is often hurting.

“Individuals will come in on a regular basis, and we get multiple requests for hygiene items throughout the week, and often times that includes some feminine hygiene products,” he said. “So there’s definitely a need there, and unfortunately… the supply that we have, the donations we have, rarely keeps up with those requests that we receive.”

Cowell added that products like tampons and pads are something that many people don’t consider when donating.

“When you really start kind of drilling down… I think often times this element is forgotten when people are thinking about how they can help the community at large,” he said, adding that, when Davis reached out about partnering, he jumped on it.

“This could fill a big need that we have here that we can’t fulfill by ourselves,” he said.

Having regular access to feminine hygiene products isn’t just a comfort issue, either. Toxic shock syndrome, a condition in which toxins are released from built-up bacteria, can arise when changing tampons infrequently.

Davis said that in his work, he’s encountered women who have had to ration tampons, putting them at risk.

“I just think it’s stupid that someone has to choose that,” he said.

He added that, in addition to getting these products to women in need, he feels that raising awareness promoting conversation around the issue is important.

Making tampons and pads readily available in schools and exempting them from sales taxes — tampons not considered to be a medical item under state law and are taxed, unlike prescription drugs — are also landmarks that the nonprofit would like to achieve.

There has been progress, too. The Period Pals project, a Boulder nonprofit, has been working to provide feminine hygiene products in Boulder area schools, while state Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada plans to introduce a bill making tampons and pads free in campus bathrooms in Colorado. Denver also recently made tampons and other products sales-tax exempt.

“It’s a thing that nobody thinks about, and it’s a thing that… nobody wants to talk about,” Davis said. “And so that’s more of an overarching goal, we need to start having these discussions.”

Period Kits’ Longmont event will take place at 2 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Grossen Bart Brewery, 1025 Deleware Ave.

Those looking to donate feminine hygiene products to The OUR Center, Cowell said, can come by their donation doors at their main location at 220 Collyer Street during business hours. Those wishing to donate directly to Period Kits can visit

If you go

What: Period Kits kit making event

When: 2 p.m. on Feb. 9

Where: Grossen Bart Brewery 1025 Delaware Ave.

Cost: Free

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