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(From left): Anieya Pittman, Always & Forever Formal Wear and Sunshine Photo owner Shatoria Teague and Caritas board member Sarah Hawthorne gather for a photo around feminine hygiene products. The food pantry will now be able to offer them once a month to women in need.

BELOIT—Women in need will be able to get free feminine hygiene products at Caritas, 2840 Prairie Ave., starting June 1 in its diaper bank room.

Women will be able to obtain the items once a month. The pickup can be separate from the time a woman may be picking up food from the pantry.

Those with the food pantry announced on Monday that Caritas is an allied program of the Alliance for Period Supplies, which will enable women to obtain the much needed products as well as allow for regional nonprofits and schools to get the items to dispense.

“Schools can call and ask to pick up supplies,” said Caritas board member Sarah Hawthorne.

The announcement was made Monday as was the first day of the national Period Poverty awareness week.

Caritas Executive Director Max Dodson said he had been pushing to get more feminine products donated by church partners and other supporters. Women often asked for the products, and when there were some in stock it’s usually gone in a day.

Hawthorne, along with board member Jackie Jackson, then spearheaded an effort to get the products. Caritas was able to get a $2,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of the Stateline Community Foundation thanks to the grant application writing of Jackson and Hawthorne.

Shatoria Teague, the owner of Always & Forever Formal Wear, 317 State St., and Sunshine Photo, offered to lead up a drive at her bridal store downtown.

“Her drive was one of the key parts of becoming an allied program of the Alliance for Period supplies,” Hawthorne added.

Teague collected 320 boxes of supplies at her store.

As an allied program, Hawthorne said Caritas has access to grant application writing workshops and will get up to a pallet of supplies once a year.

Teague said collecting the items was a drive she could get behind and she was excited to help with what will be referred to as the Lady Business Project. Teague said this need is sometimes under the radar.

“It’s expensive, and we have no control over it,” Teague said.

One in four women have struggled to purchase period products within the past year due to lack of income, and one in five low-income women report missing work, school or similar events due to lack of access to period supplies, according to information from the Alliance For Period Supplies at www.allianceforperiodsupplies.org.

Those who want to support the Lady Business Project can make monetary donations on the Caritas website, Caritas.org, and can drop off products at Caritas or at Always & Forever Formal Wear.