Senior spearheads hygiene drive for homeless

By: Olivia Martin

Senior Katarina Walther is calling for people to donate items to a drive for hygiene products that will benefit homeless shelters around the Cedar Valley.

Walther had to do a service project because she is a member of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SYAC). She has been interested in women’s health issues for some time now.

“I guess I have an interest in menstruation. That sounds really weird, but last year I wrote a play about people’s different experiences with menstruation for my ALPHA project. I wanted to do more, and I had to do a service project, so I chose one that would work with my interests while doing things for other people,” Walther said.

She also added that another reason why she decided to start her project was due to an article she read in the Huffington Post about how homeless women struggle with having their periods.

However, this drive will not just be for female hygiene products. Walther is looking for menstrual products, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners.

“Homeless men and women don’t have a lot of things to call their own, so this drive is giving them back a little bit of dignity through personal hygiene products,” she said.

At the high school, there is a collection place in the counselling office. There are also more locations around the Cedar Valley. Walther is reaching out to churches in the area and has already solidified a place where people can donate items at Big House. She said she is looking for more collection places too, with the help of counselor Amy Denholm.

Walther is hoping for a large turnout for the drive. “Cedar Falls has a legacy of being involved in the community so I hope students and staff get involved in this project to show that Cedar Falls cares about people with other socioeconomic statuses – other people who are less privileged,” she said.

Benefiting from the hygiene drive will be the Cedar Valley Friends of the Family and House of Hope. The drive ends Jan. 31.

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