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You’re at brunch on your third mimosa catching up with your friends and enjoying your eggs benedict. All of a sudden you feel a cramp. (Ugh, vibe killer.) You check your bag and realize you forgot to bring a tampon or pad. So now you’ve gone from enjoying a lovely girls’ brunch to a dealing with a possible leaky crisis. The secret mission now ensues: get a tampon fast and with the least attention possible.

Signaling your crew to lean in, you whisper to them, “Does anybody have a pad/tampon?” Your friends begin to hushedly search their purses and you’re in luck! Your friend across the table offers to give you their last tampon. She slides it to you under the table, you retrieve the goods and head to the bathroom. Mission accomplished, crisis averted!

Most women can identify with this annoying yet common scenario. We all know our periods often show up at inconvenient times, and for many, the cost of period products isn’t convenient either. While your pop-up period situation at brunch was resolved pretty quickly, many women are facing menstruation crises on a much larger scale.

According to Global Citizen, approximately one in 10 girls in Africa are missing school 10-20% of the time due to lack of feminine hygiene products. These girls are missing valuable instruction time because of their monthly cycles and, unfortunately, are falling behind their male counterparts. Tampons and pads are a costly necessity. These costs not only impact women and girls in Africa, but across the entire globe, including here in the United States.                

Menstruation matters, especially to the founders of Free Flow Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the menstrual hygiene management of women and girls across the globe. Free Flow was founded in March 2018 when Morgan Frazier brought together three women — Danielle Armstrong, Anye Biamby and Sierra Robinson — to execute her vision of helping women and girls by providing resources to those who face financial challenges every month during their cycles.

Women in the United States spend about $2 billion annually on menstrual hygiene products. For those who are less fortunate, this expense can present a major challenge every month. Over the last year, Free Flow has collected over 5,000 menstrual products, including tampons, pads, menstrual cups and wipes, through local donation drives. These items have been distributed to local shelters, as well as nationally and internationally.

In addition to providing menstrual hygiene products to those in need, Free Flow works to normalize the discussion about menstruation. The organization operates a submission-based blog on their website to promote awareness, and invited a panel of speakers to spark the conversation at their inaugural fundraising brunch. The founders of Free Flow plan to continue to fight period stigma by creating video content and simply by bringing it in to their everyday conversation. 

If you are interested in supporting Free Flow’s mission, you can do so by sending donations via their Amazon Wishlist or providing monetary donations directly to the Free Flow PayPal Account.

Free Flow, Inc. is based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. To learn more, visit FreeFlowTheMovement.org and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!