AWARENESS: Food is Free founder Lou Ridsdale and volunteer Sally-Anne McGeachin are collecting unused sanitary items in the laneway to complement the food exchange program. Picture: Lachlan BenceFOOD is Free Laneway founder Lou Ridsdale is joining a growing chorus to promote what she feels is a basic human right: sanitary items for the homeless.

A box next to the wheelbarrow planter, offers a place for people to place unused sanitary items for women and transgender people most in need.

Food is Free has partnered with charity organisation Share the Dignity. Ms Ridsdale said the charity’s motto, that sanitary products should be a right, not a privilege, fit in with the laneway’s community-driven concept of looking after everybody’s basic needs, regardless of their story.

“It’s a marvellous thing to recognise women do have this need. Sanitary items are probably one thing most people do not think of as a basic need for homeless, we tend to think of donating blankets and food first,” Ms Ridsdale said.

“Homelessness doesn’t have a certain look…there are so many different avenues to how people end up homeless. Everybody can have a bad week financially.”

Food is Free Laneway in Redanprovides equal access to healthy, high-quality, nutritious, safe and cost-free food. Nearby schools and kindergartens help make seedling packets for people to start their own gardens.

Share the Dignity runs collection drives in April and August to collect pads and tampons for vulnerable and at-risk Australian women to prevent them from shameful and traumatic experiencesduring their monthly periods, like having to clean in public toilets or creating makeshift sanitary items.

Ballarat’s Renee Ziedaitis placed a collection box in the female change rooms St John of God Hospital where she works and is amazed at the generosity of her colleagues.

“(Periods) are still a bit of a taboo subject and it’s good to have a bit of anonymity, so women can just slip them from their work bag into the box. Imagine being homeless worrying about this,” Ms Ziedaitis said. “I’ve also had friends who have bought the wrong brand and because they’re a bit fussy, have donated them, or pregnant friends who donate their excess supplies because they will not need them for awhile.”

Food is Free Laneway is off Ripon Street. Find more collection points onlineat sharethedignity苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

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