Get Ovary It, a student organization at the University of Maryland, coordinated their annual pad and tampon drive this semester in an effort to fight period poverty, asking for monetary donations rather than product donations because of the coronavirus pandemic. The group raised $379 between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 for the Audelia Community Response Team, a mutual aid network based in Langley Park.
Usually, the group places boxes in dorms, apartment buildings and sorority houses for people to donate physical products. However, this year Get Ovary It decided to collect donations through Venmo, a mobile payment service, and buy pads and tampons to donate.
Most of the promotion for the drive took place on social media. They also hosted Painting for Periods, a virtual paint night on Zoom with a $5 fee for access to the Zoom meeting and paint supplies. Madaline Alvarenga and Christy Mathew, student artists from this university, led participants in creating a period-themed painting.
While Get Ovary It was limited to virtual advertising only this semester, the group’s president Shika Inala said it made outreach easier to manage. She also said they raised a solid portion of their donations from the paint night, which hosted about 20 participants.
“That was a great way for us to jumpstart our fundraiser,” Inala said.
Get Ovary It has organized the pad/tampon drive for about six semesters, the group’s vice president McCauley Brown said, but this semester, they decided to keep the drive more local to get more involved with the community and understand its needs.
“Right now, a lot of families are experiencing really bad economic situations where they’re having to choose between buying food or buying tampons,” Brown said. “The College Park campus is really privileged, but then a lot of the areas surrounding it are not so privileged. So we think that we have a responsibility to step in there and get involved with the communities that surround our campus.”
The group has donated to a network in Cameroon and women’s shelters in Washington D.C. and Baltimore in the past.
Get Ovary It also championed a Student Government Association funded project that will supply free menstrual products in 25 bathrooms across this university’s campus starting in the fall 2021 semester. SGA allocated $48,000 toward the three-year pilot program.
“I think that a lot of people are recognizing how much the need for this has increased, especially as a lot of the communities around College Park have been really hit hard by the pandemic,” Brown said.