the birth of Bags of Hope Stockton Foundation
Bags of Hope is a ministry that Coleen Ray created in 2016.
The mission is to provide under-served women and school aged girls education on puberty, menstrual hygiene, and menopause, as well as access to feminine hygiene products. After a crazy trip to the Tahoe National Forrest where she was utterly un-prepared for the extreme cold conditions and a friends unexpected menstrual cycle, they discussed the homeless women in the community and the types of items they must use when they are caught un-prepared. After that trip she and her daughter decided to do a little research and that is when Bags of Hope was born. The first time they went out there was an overwhelming response to the bags that were prepared. They did not expect to find so many women living in tents and extremely poor conditions. They had encountered many women who had lost hope, some were even walking around in “blood stained” pants. It was then when a decision was made it our to restore dignity and hope through one bag at a time. It has been the goal to provide a warm embrace, a hot meals and quality items that they don't necessarily receive on a regular basis. Since Bags of Hopes inception we have given out over five thousand sanitary napkins and a little over 800 bags per year. Each year we have an annual dinner to raise funds and highlight women in our community who have done exceptionally well in service.
Bags of Hope provides free menstrual hygiene kits every month to women and girls. Our main focus has been homeless women but throughout the years we have found that all women benefit from our bags. There are several different bags that are distributed. We have tampon bags, napkin bags and bags for elderly women who suffer from incontinence issues. Each bag distributed includes; liquid soap, feminine wipes, feminine wash, lotion, a small water bottle, lip balm, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, granola, chocolate and a hand written scripture card.Poor feminine hygiene can lead to a ton of health risks. Homeless women have made it a habit in reusing materials, not washing as needed, or leaving materials for absorption for too long.
Bags of Hope Stockton Foundation has been providing sanitary supplies to low income people for over 4years.
According to our nurse team the risk in doing this can lead to several health problems, including toxic shock syndrome, reproductive tract infections, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and bacterial skin infections. According to Kismet Baldwin, health officer with San Joaquin Public Health Services “All of these conditions require medical treatment and when left untreated can progress to even more serious complications,” according to Baldwin. “When women are not able to access clean sanitary products, they may also worry about things like smell, (and) stains from leaking blood, which can affect their ability to feel comfortable interacting with others in the community. “Overall, lack of feminine hygiene during menstruation can exacerbate certain health risks, trigger mental health issues, increase their susceptibility to discrimination and can put individuals at a higher risk for mortality.”
coleen ray & lori wallace
Tahoe National Forrest
The lack of access to period products for low income people is staggering. These necessary products are not covered by programs like SNAP or any other type of government program. This leaves many people without the products that they need in order to care for their feminine health.
EQUAL ACCESS TO MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
ACCESS TO LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES
EDUCATION FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
OUTREACH BOTH LOCAL AND GLOBALLY
MINISTRY THAT AIMS TO UPLIFT AND RESTORE HOPE
We Need Your Support Today!
Bags of Hope Stockton Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, committed to supplying menstrual health products to people that menstruate who are either homeless or low-income. With your donation, we can buy in bulk quantities. Any donation amount is appreciated and a little goes a long way to purchasing products.