Whether you “check in at the Red Roof Inn,” “receive a visit from Aunt Flo,” or “tune in to Shark Week,” chances are you dread the days of your menstrual cycle. But for homeless women, these days are even more of a drag.
That's why the group That Time of the Month hosts events to gather feminine hygiene products for these women in need. TTOTM will host a brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Henderson Tap House. Admission is free with the donation of unopened feminine hygiene products, such as pads, tampons or panty liners, or new underwear or bras. All attendees will be included in a “feminist-themed” raffle.
“The overall mission of TTOTM is to make a space for women to meet each other, build friendships and professional networks, while also supporting women in need in their communities,” says Alissa Mayhaus, the group’s organizer. “We collect donations of feminine hygiene products or other items like body and hair care for organizations that assist women through tough situations like domestic violence and homelessness.”
The women’s mixer generally meets on weeknights for happy hour but decided to switch things up for “fun, feminism and mimosas” this month. So far, attendees have gathered donations for organizations such as Genesis Women's Shelter and The Ebby House. This weekend’s goods will go to I Support the Girls, a nationwide organization that provides feminine hygiene products, bras and underwear to more than 300 vetted groups that support homeless women.
“I first heard about them in the response to Hurricane Harvey,” Mayhaus says. “The founder, Dana Marlowe, started the organization after she had some bras of her own to donate and quickly realized that there was a huge need.
"People often donate clothes, shoes and other items to shelters, but she found many were in desperate need of bras. After doing a little research, I found there is a local branch here in Dallas. I thought it would be a great way to mix it up in terms of donation type, and especially this time of year around Valentine's Day.”
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Mayhaus’ friend, Catherine Burkey, founded TTOTM. The two met as undergraduates at the University of Cincinnati. Burkey now lives in Boston, where she started the first TTOTM chapter there. After seeing the work Burkey was doing, Mayhaus decided to start a Dallas chapter. She now considers herself “HBIC” — head bitch in charge — of TTOTM Dallas.
“I had been looking for a community of like-minded women, or a way to make one myself, where we could talk about the things that matter to us in a space where we can dominate the conversation,” Mayhaus says. “And really, I was feeling pretty hopeless in terms of how I could have a positive impact on the lives of other women. While menstrual products are a fairly small token, it is a way to help restore the dignity of women who have gone through so much, and that is absolutely worth it.”
Mayhaus says TTOTM is aware feminine products are something not all women need. She says transgender women are also a part of the at-risk community she intends to serve and that finding other items to donate to make the mission more inclusive is important to her.
For more information on TTOTM Dallas, visit its Facebook page.