High School Pair Raise Funds and Awareness for Period Poverty

These Hockaday students donated $3,450 to the Dallas Life Homeless Recovery Center

Two Hockaday School students — incoming junior Ashley Chemmalakuzhy and incoming senior Claire Zhu — joined forces to raise $3,450 and awareness to help those facing period poverty in Dallas.

“A problem that we’ve noticed is the stigma around talking about this issue in the first place, which contributes to the issue of not having these affordable products,” Zhu said.

The pair took the issue of period poverty and used the platforms of organizations they’re involved in to make a difference. Chemmalakuzhy is the executive director of the We R Love Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit focused on health, homelessness, and education. Zhu is the founder and president of Hockaday’s Health Occupations Students of America chapter, so the two collaborated to raise money, starting with two bake sales.

The bake sales raised $532. After that success, the team kept the momentum going by reaching out to companies (such as Poppy Flowers and the Dallas Garden School) and individual donors to round up more funds, resulting in the remaining $2,918. 

Before starting to fundraise, they reached out to the Dallas Life Homeless Recovery Center and found the nonprofit had 55 women in need of period products. 

Ashley Chemmalakuzhy

Chemmalakuzhy and Zhu decided that was the right nonprofit to support, and they were able to supply six months’ worth of pads and tampons for those women. 

“I just think it’s really interesting because when we started, we really didn’t know where it was going to go,” Chemmalakuzhy said.

Coming from an all-girls school, Zhu said the partners are especially familiar with the necessity of affordable period products. She described it as a basic need like food, shelter, and water.

The pair has also been raising awareness about period poverty by creating bookmarks and infographics for social media and holding meetings with their organizations’ members to inform them of the issue. Although their fundraising efforts are concluded, they plan to continue raising awareness through social media.

“We did our part in helping and donating these products, but the best impact out of this would be if we could get other people our age and other teenagers interested in serving our community in this way,” Chemmalakuzhy said.

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