LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Lawrence teenager is working to provide the low-income and homeless women in her community with safe and comfortable feminine care products.

Taylor Hamby, 16, launched the Re-Flow project in August as part of an upcoming competition with her school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter. She said the project is fueled by the idea that everyone deserves access to basic hygiene, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .

“It wasn’t something that really came to mind, and then when I started researching, I figured out this is a problem,” said Taylor, a junior at Free State High School. “I thought this is what I want to do so I can raise awareness and get people to talk about it and get people to help.”

Taylor will host an event Wednesday where people can turn bedsheets, towels and washcloths she collected into reusable sanitary pads. The pads would be distributed to local shelters, food pantries and women’s organizations. Taylor hopes to make and give away at least 500 reusable pads, which she said provides a more eco-friendly solution than just giving store-bought products.

She said that low-income and homeless women are more likely to use menstrual products for unsafe lengths of time, exposing them to health problems.

“A lot of them will use old rags that they don’t wash, or some will use tree bark or use tampons for hours and hours, which will then cause infections and toxic shock syndrome,” Taylor said.

The teen said that part of her mission is bringing awareness to a problem that remains taboo.

“One of the other reasons why I want to get the community involved is so they know about it,” Taylor said. “Even if they can’t come and help out, it makes them aware of it.”

Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

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