Fighting Period Inequality with #HappyPeriod
By The Honey Pot Company
In 2015, Chelsea VonChaz saw a woman wearing period blood-soaked clothing crossing the street in Los Angeles. After contacting various shelters in the area for more information and answers on resources regarding people on the street and their period, what she discovered was discouraging. Chelsea was told that people don’t often think about homeless women being on their period, and because of this there are practically no menstrual products donated.
On a mission to change this, she with her mother Cherryl Warner, founded #HappyPeriod, a non-profit organization bringing menstrual health products to those in need, while reshaping the conversations about periods, period inequality and taboos.
At The Honey Pot Company, we were so inspired by their work, that we’ve partnered with them on our #HappyPeriod vagina pin. For each pin purchased, we will donate 2 liners + 1 pad, helping to give to our most vulnerable sisters.
As our official charity partner, we recently caught up with Chelsea for an update on her work to fight period inequality and organization to share with our community. Read below for more from our conversation with her:
HP: You share menstrual education with others, but what was your own experience with period education?
CV: My period talk was real basic. I don’t remember asking a lot of questions. My mom grew up in the 60s, so it was more taboo. I remember being confused about why I was bleeding again after the first month. I was thinking why did it come again? I had to be told that your period comes every month. I also just figured out a lot on my own as time went by.
HP: The current generation growing up with social media has more access than ever before to a wealth of knowledge. How does that help #HappyPeriod?
CV: Social media is the life blood of Happy Period, and why I have spent zero dollars on advertising. We use it to push our mission and eliminate the stigma. That’s why we post a lot of period art, articles and photos, so anyone that follows us on social- they’re going to be educated. That’s how a lot of people get their information, so I try to make our page relatable and a page people will go to for information on their period.
HP: Over the past four years you’ve donated thousands of menstrual products. What’s next?
CV: The future of Happy Period includes a menstrual health education program, in which we are going to have a youth centric curriculum that’s going to pinpoint period health, as well as self-esteem. This is going to be for 9-13-year olds, so prepping them on how to manage their period. That’s coming really soon. We’ve kind of already been doing it with smaller workshops but haven’t actually announced it.
Our 3-5-year plan is the mobile shower, and that is going to aid our current program, of volunteer advocates providing menstrual products to anyone that has a period but doesn’t have access to period products for whatever reason. If the reason is, they are homeless, have low-income, are a refugee, or are displaced from a natural disaster. Whatever the reason is that they don’t have period products we give it to them on top of the opportunity to get clean and take a shower. We’ll start in LA first and then branch out to other cities.
The Honey Pot is my co-captain for this, and this is something that is huge and essential for what we are doing. We’ve donated thousands of period products over four years, and I’ve come to realize how having a shower would be extremely beneficial.
Now, we also get way more requests to give period products to schools than to shelters. A lot of schools have undergone budget cuts or the nurse’s station is gone and teachers are going out of their pockets for period products. That’s why I’m pushing the menstrual health education program, in return of us being able to do the workshops with the students, we’re also donating products. From that it’s a ripple effect because we get teachers, principals and superintendents saying ‘can you come to this school or this district..’ and we are able to reach more girls.
And Chelsea’s advice for those looking to start an initiative themselves?
“If you’re interested in starting an organization or social enterprise, you need to ask yourself ‘can I be passionate about this group of people or cause for a very long time,’ if the answer is yes, then you just need to do it right now and don’t ask permission. If not, look for other ways you can volunteer your talents to help others. A lot of people are just waiting for permission to do things with their lives.”
Keep up with all of the work HappyPeriod is doing on Instagram (+ some major period positivity): @wearehappyperiod.