As women, we go through a number of physical, mental and social struggles unknown by our male counterparts. When “that time of the month” comes we either reach into our stash of pads or tampons, or rush to the nearest drugstore for the $5 box we so haphazardly spend on to prepare ourselves for our dreading period. Because of course, having a period is not free here in America. When my sister Ashley was scouting out shelters, she recognized the lack of sanitary items available for women. It was evident when she noticed a female panhandler that was obviously on her cycle. For days, this experience stayed with Ashley as she went throughout her days. Until one day, God laid it on her heart to do more than just walk past the next time she had such an experience. She had to do something.
For Ashley’s 30th birthday in August 2016, in lieu of gifts, she requested that her friends and family donate sanitary pads, tampons and toiletries. A simple request with many not knowing the magnitude of the mission, Ashley collected over 7,000 items in a weeks span. After collecting the items, she bagged them with a group of close friends, and found herself to have hundreds of bags in her car by the next day! With the love and blessings from her family, friends and community, Ashley was able to disperse those bags to less fortunate women on the streets of South Florida. Since that event, Ashley has collected over 30,000 items for women in need, in conjunction with a wonderful group of organizations, businesses and volunteers.
The Beauty Initiative was the original vision created by Ashley, which spawned the inception of Help Her, Period, the organizations first initiative. Along with the Help Her, Period donations, The Beauty Initiative a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization also gives back in various other ways. A licensed Esthetician, Ashley lends her experience and tools to give makeovers to women in local shelters throughout the year. These beauty sessions have also included: resume seminars, business attire giveaways, financial literacy and so much more!
An educator by day, Ashley spends her time, energy, and so much more focused on the growth of Beauty Initiative and our mission. As well as her own funds to hosts the infamous, Pads n’ Pons Party to pack the small bags for this BIG mission. If women don’t help women, who will? Ashley has taken the initiative along with her family, friends and community to show these women in need that they haven’t been forgotten, that they matter and that we as women, will ALWAYS stick together.
From just a vision from the Lord and love in her heart, Ashley is just starting on her mission. Being sponsored by 10 major companies, collecting over 130,000 items in one year, donating to over 11 facilities, 200+ donations monthly, many sponsored drives and countless volunteers Ash is just beginning. With plans to expand her assistance offered to the homeless community, Ashley hopes that Help Her, Period will reach states around the country and aid in giving back a little hope to women in need. Created by a small, but mighty woman, Help Her, Period is a foundation with a BIG mission, and we hope to one day reach the countless women in need around this country because HERstory, is our story.
Submitted by Erica Eubanks
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