Two types of must-have items for women are bras and feminine hygiene products.
Support the Girls began in 2015 as a nonprofit organization and was created based on the theory that a woman should not have to pick between eating and feminine hygiene products. The charity has now come to St. George.
Emily Havens, the southern Utah affiliate for Support the Girls and Dixie State University alumna, started a drive for the Support the Girls campaign during April.
“I was writing an article for the Spectrum about Support the Girls from a [charity] drive up north that only reached to Cedar City,” Havens said. “When I wrote the article, people from St. George contacted me and wanted to donate items here instead of driving to Cedar City.”
Havens teamed up with Andrea Pettersen, a senior mass communication major from Krokstadelva, Norway, to bring the drive to St. George. Havens talked to the DOVE Center, a shelter that provides services to sexual and domestic violence survivors, and discovered they were in desperate need of both feminine hygiene products and bras — as these items are not often donated.
“I was inspired by the affiliate up north,” Havens said. “Her campaign was super well organized, and it was inspiring talking to her and finding out why she did this.”
Havens said she knew it would be a lot of work, so she reached out to her old professors at DSU.
“Emily contacted one of my teachers in having a student help as a part of their capstone project, and it seemed like an interesting project to do,” Pettersen said. “I’ve always been a big fan [of] empowering women, so I decided I wanted to do it.”
Their goal is to collect 500 feminine hygiene products and 200 bras by the last day of April.
“When I called the DOVE Center, they said to bring in the donations, that they really need them,” Havens said.
“For future drives, I want to get involved with the university,” Havens said. “There were times when I was a student that I was poor and needed a new bra.”
“There will be a charity concert, two hikes and a Paint Nite supporting the fundraiser through April,” Pettersen said.
Ashley Imlay, a senior English major from St. George, said she thought Support the Girls was a great idea.
“It would be cool if there were tampons available at DSU for students in the restrooms,” Imlay said. “If I had an emergency, I would use this type of service.”
Dianne Aldrich, associate librarian of public services, had not heard of Support the Girls but thought it was a good cause and said she was excited to look into the organization to find out more.
“I would like to see at some point for this campus to have free pads and tampons in the bathrooms,” Aldrich said. “For women, you don’t always know when your period is going to come. If you are at school and you get your period, you have to rely on the kindness of others, some students are very private and don’t want to ask others for feminine products. If we had them in the bathroom, that would be one less burden on our student’s shoulders.”
The DOVE Center will be accepting donations for the April drive. You can donate in St. George at 275 E. St. George Blvd., or contact Emily Havens at 435-674-6214.
For more information, go to isupportthegirls.org or go to Support the Girls-Utah’s Facebook page.