With every passing month since launching the PAD Center, more and more people have reached out to learn about how PAD Center operates. More clients have enrolled in monthly product subscriptions, and new partners have asked how they can be a part of this project.
At this time, the PAD Center serves 35 women on a monthly basis. These women are mainly from Lynchburg but also we are reaching women in Amherst County, Bedford County, Campbell County and Pamplin, Virginia. Each month we have doubled our client numbers with the help of our referring partners distributing Immediate Response Kits, the local news providing publicity, and the community spreading the word about the PAD Center. We continue to supply our ten referring partners with Immediate Response Kits, but only two have completely depleted their initial cases of 100. Our referring partners are responsible for enrolling over half of the monthly subscribing clients. In this fiscal year, we have the funding to accommodate 60 women for a full year of products, and we are looking forward to helping more women.
We are proud to announce our first organization to conduct a product drive. New Chapel Baptist Church’s women’s group facilitated a congregation-wide product drive for the duration of June. Their congregation collected over 777 tampons, 595 pads, 304 liners, and 1,742 wipes. This drive alone will fill about 40 monthly subscription kits at our current client load.
We have encountered some allergies and reactions to the products we distribute. The most prevalent allergy has been latex, followed by the use of cardboard tampon applicators. We have some clients who cannot use fragranced products, and that mainly applies to the feminine hygiene wipes. While there are certain brands that address these specific needs, they are not commonly sold in bulk, so we continue to look for the most cost effective manner to address concerns as they arise.
With increasing numbers of clients having transportation challenges, PAD Center is in the process of coordinating delivery sign-ups with the Junior League of Lynchburg to take monthly kits to central locations in the surrounding areas to help keep clients connected. Most referring partners allow for subscription pickup from their offices, but that is challenging for clients who may only visit there once each quarter. We do work to ensure that subscriptions will coincide with those visits when possible.
PAD Center always welcomes donations, so please encourage those who are interested to contact the administrator for promotional materials and to get a list of most needed products. We welcome any and everything, but there are certain items that are a little harder for us to order, and we appreciate the added support provided through product donation drives. Additional drives will allow us to accommodate more clients with ongoing service. With our current client load, we are nearly at 50% capacity of clients we can support monthly. Donations will allow us to increase that number and help more women.
In the coming months, there also will be packing events for volunteers to assemble the monthly subscription kits. This is essential for preparing for the addition of more monthly subscribers.
This year, PAD Center’s goal is to collaborate with healthcare professionals and develop an educational curriculum and programming to provide feminine hygiene education to the community. An example of a sample course would be presenting a “Guide to your Period” class to community organizations and giving the participants a locker kit. The locker kit would allow girls to be prepared and confident if they start menstruating at school. Curriculum for adults also may be information offered in a classroom setting, upon request, or may be accessed through our website.
Working on this project has been a rewarding experience. From meeting other people in the community who want to make an impact on this issue to getting a better understanding of the community we are serving and how we can better serve their needs, we are making an impact together.