By Emma Wolff
Most teenagers spend hours scrolling through TikTok to learn the latest viral dances. However, Sydney Helmuth, a junior at Barry Goldwater High School, used TikTok to discover Her Drive. Her Drive is a national nonprofit organization that collects gently used bras, general hygiene supplies and menstrual products for underprivileged and under-resourced communities. After learning more about this organization, building a local drive became a passion for Helmuth.
“As high school students, we often feel there is a disconnect between what we can accomplish and what will actually make an impact in our community,” says Helmuth. “Her Drive was our way to create a positive change close to home.”
The national nonprofit organization, Her Drive, aims to help women who are disproportionately affected by homelessness and poverty by providing feminine hygiene essentials. Although this organization is throughout the United States, individuals can host local drives in their city to support the national program. There have been Her Drives in over 15 cities in the United States but none in Arizona. But, now thanks to Helmuth and several other Valley teens, there is a Her Drive in Phoenix.
“I started the Phoenix Chapter of Her Drive with the help of two amazing friends, Skye Walsh and Ava Matsumoto, as a way to help members of our community who are often overlooked. We had been hearing about the public health crisis known as ‘period poverty’ for a while and finally found a way to help,” Helmuth says.
“Although none of us have dealt with period poverty, we do experience the stigma of periods every day. The topic of menstruation has always been taboo, even though half of the world goes through it. We are seeking to end the embarrassment that many feel about periods while providing hygienic supplies to those in need,” she adds.
The Phoenix Her Drive is accepting donations through the end of the month. Due to COVID-19, there will be contactless pickups every Saturday and Monday. However, if these days don’t work, Helmuth and her team will work with donors to find a different day for pickup. In additional to menstrual care products, some of high demand items include over-the-counter medications, haircare products and other toiletries.
All donations will be sent to homeless shelters around the Valley including UMOM New Day Center and Vista Colina Emergency Family Housing. Donations can also be made through Amazon Smile; however, these supplies will go to various shelters across the nation. Monetary donations can also be made through the mobile payment service Venmo to the account @HerDrive. All contributions will make a significant difference to women who need help.
To learn more about the Phoenix Her Drive, contact Sydney Helmuth through Facebook or Instagram @sydhelmuth. To schedule a donation pickup, fill out the Google form at the top of her Instagram profile.