Essentials 4 Women SA was founded in April 2015 by Amy Rust and Kelly Peacock.
Campaigning to collect sanitary items actually started in Perth in November 2014. A girlfriend of ours, Lenny, was volunteering at a homeless shelter just before Christmas and wanted to do "her bit" in a Christmas appeal type situation. She was talking to her friend at Ruah and asked if she could think of something that Lenny could put a Facebook call out for. Her friend told her the one thing that is never, ever, EVER donated is sanitary items. Like most people, including us, Lenny was shocked and a little bit embarrassed she had never thought of donating these things before. Not only are they an essential part of a woman's life at one point or another, they're bloody expensive!
Lenny did a little Facebook post and sure enough the social media gods deemed it worthy enough to be "viral" and a six week campaign saw 50,000 donations roll in - now who said that the mining boom was over?!
Like a symbol being shone from night’s sky, Kelly and Amy felt compelled to get involved and help the women doing it tough in South Australia. And then out came a UK campaign called The Homeless Period. A short series of videos spoken by actual homeless women speaking of things like indignity of choosing between food or sanitary items, things like stealing sanitary items, things like the inquality between what is available for men at shelters vs what is available for women at shelters.
Words have never resonated deeper.
So with that, Kelly and Amy suited up, dragged their blonde haired, blue eyed boys across Adelaide for 6 weeks in April and May and came up with over 10,000 donations for homeless shelters and domestic violence service providers. The support from the community was outstanding and the service providers were overwhelmed with gratitude. They've all been asked to do more with less and the goods we collected meant they could divert money elsewhere, temporarily.
After such successful campaign it was clear that a) there was an identified gap in the charitable system with a lack of sanitary items being donated and b) people can really relate to the struggles of disadvantaged women and want to help.
Since our creation we have ran three public donation drives, received over 270,000 donations, incorporated as a South Australian association and are an Australian registered charity entitled to receive tax deductible donations.