RIRIE, Idaho (KXPI) - A local nonprofit gets into our area schools to help young girls with mother nature, as they become young women. Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz talked with the founder of the Idaho Period Project to see how she started it and how they keep the efforts going.
The Idaho Period Project aims to put feminine hygiene products and dispensers in our local schools. High schools, junior highs and middle schools, and yes, even elementary schools.
It was started in January 2022, and quickly became a nonprofit five months later. Avrey Hendrix saw a similar organization operating in Utah.
"And I'm like, is anyone doing this in Idaho? There's a Boise Period Project, but they focus mainly on adults and the homeless," said Hendrix to Kunz. She sent a text to 20 friends and it took off, and with the help of the Upper Valley Child Advocacy Center, they received some donated grant money and the Idaho Period Project was on its way.
"We have a board now. We're an official nonprofit since May. So we have a board and so there are six, seven of us I think, yeah, seven of us. There is, like, random helpers, community helpers, but we have a solid seven of us," said Hendrix.
Once they buy and install the free product dispensers, the schools commit to continue supplying the products once the initial refills are gone. Hendrix said many schools have these products included in their budgets, but it can be hard financially for the smaller school districts.
"(We are) Working with representatives to get a bill passed in the state. We're working with Representative Rod Furniss right now," said Hendrix.
Beyond that, they assemble and give out what they call monthly period packs to girls who don't have access at home. And their efforts are having an impact according to Ririe School District nurse Danielle Olson.
"Our elementary school serves kindergarten through sixth graders, and so there is younger girls. It's growing, not a trend, but it's just what's happening with girls and their development. They are starting their cycles earlier and so to have that, give them piece of mind, a little confidence and they can feel safe that they are going to be able to be at school. I keep supplies in my office, but that's not always convenient for them," said Olson.
Time to Pay It Forward.
"For me, I didn't even realize period poverty was a thing. So I think knowing that it is a thing and knowing that..." said Hendrix.
"Hi, Avrey?" said a woman, walking into the gymnasium and interrupting the interview.
"Hi. Yes?" replied Hendrix.
"Avrey, my name is Cassey (Leatham)," said the woman.
"Oh, Hi," said Hendrix.
"I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said Leatham.
"Oh, OK," said Hendrix.
"And I'm here to Pay It Forward. We're here to present you with $500," said Leatham.
"Oh my gosh," said Hendrix.
"To help your efforts with the Idaho Period Project. We greatly appreciate what you do for the young woman in the community, so we want to help you out a little bit. Yeah," said Leatham.
"Oh, thank you so much," said Hendrix.
"You're welcome," said Leatham.
"Oh my word. Thank you. Wow! We're so grateful," said Hendrix.
"Of course. We're grateful for people like you," said Leatham.
"Thanks. Thanks so much. Wow!" said Hendrix.
The Idaho Period Project helps our schools from Salmon, Clark County, and Ashton to the north, and to Aberdeen in the south. From east to west, they donate from Swan Valley to Arco.
The Idaho Period Project is holding a product donation drive right now at all Alberstons and Broulim's location from Ammon and Idaho Falls to Rexburg and St. Anthony.
You can reach the organizers through the Facebook page here or on Instagram.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at email@example.com.