FORT MYERS, Fla. — In efforts to solve the lack of feminine care products for homeless women back in 2017, Paris Ellis owner and founder of We Matter Period says, she saw the need and wanted to help here in our community.
“So over the month of January, I collected products and we were able to raise $1,378.38 along with some donations we got from Sam’s Club, Target, Dollar Tree,” said Paris Ellis, Owner of We Matter Period.
Ellis raised the necessary funds in a matter of 2 weeks, thanks to donations from the community but also selling her art from ArtChiDesigns.
Community members young and old willingly lent a hand at the Quality Life Center packing 1000 bags including Ellis’s mother, who says, she spent nearly a decade working closely with women and children on the streets of our community.
“Not only do you have women out on the street, but you have women and their children and they are still trying to survive and do all the things we are trying to do on a day-to-day basis. And then there’s one more thing that we all have every month, which is what matters, which is We Matter Period. We have our periods and a lot of times that's a difficult time especially if we are living in our cars if we’re living in campsites, even if we are living in shelters," said Daisy Ellis, Registered Nurse, and former Director of Medical and Outreach Services for the Salvation Army.
Not only did volunteers help pack bags filled with feminine care products for women in need, but they also participated in a workshop learning about their bodies and how to function as a lady.
10-year-old Madeline Hernandez says the event opened her eyes to a problem in her own backyard.
“I never learned about it cause I don't know what it’s like because I’m not homeless or anything, so it was interesting to go in their point of view to know what happens,” said Madeline Hernandez.
Teens from the Quality Life Center including Heiress Watkins says, being a teenager and lending a helping hand during tough times makes her feel good
“Especially for us girls and women, in general, it's very empowering to see children our age doing things that normally adults would do,” said Heiress Watkins.
Now the donations will be heading out to local non-profits in our area such as the Salvation Army, and others here in Southwest Florida, but also across the country to North Carolina. Ellis says her work is not done, and she hopes to raise awareness about a real problem for women on the street.