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Lutz teen determined to end 'period poverty'

Posted at 9:32 AM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2021-09-24 08:44:23-04

There's a growing movement to raise awareness about an issue called "period poverty."

It's where girls can't afford or don't have access to sanitary products. It's something many women may take for granted, and 15-year-old Aanya Patel of Lutz is on a mission to change that.

"I launched my initiative, 'Periods During a Pandemic, No Girl Left Behind' on October 10, where we celebrated National Period Day," Patel said.

She's been collecting supplies to help young girls in the Tampa Bay area.

"My goal is to collect and donate 20,000+ pads, and I will be donating these pads to girls in Hillsborough County high schools who are located in low socioeconomic areas," Patel said. "As well as The Spring of Tampa Bay, a local domestic violence shelter."

When you think about women not being able to afford basic necessities like sanitary pads, you'd probably envision that only happening in third world countries, right? Wrong!

"Even in a developed country like America, one in five students struggled to afford these basic necessities of menstrual hygiene products," Patel said. "These conditions are even worse right now because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. After learning all this, I just felt really inspired to take action in my local community."

Patel is teaming up with the University of Tampa to host a "period product drive" through Friday, October 23. She needs your help to reach her goal.

"What I need from the community is donations. I strongly urge each and every one of you watching today to please donate these pads and money through this GoFundMeLink to help uplift these girls within our community."

You can donate supplies or money to help her reach her goal. Her GoFundMe has raised nearly $2,000 so far.