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Pads and Tampons Just Part of Holly ACTS’ Community Efforts

Pads and Tampons Just Part of Holly ACTS’ Community Efforts

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 3, 2021)

Holly, MI – When community members got together to form Holly ACTS (Action,Community Transformation, Solidarity), they brainstormed what topics were important to them. From helping those in need to inspiring discussions on difficult topics, the group’s aim is to bring the community together and help each other. Their recent Women Helping Women Period provided an early success in uplifting low income women and girls in the Holly area.

According to ACTS co founder and Director Kristin Koppa-Watt, the group collected 352 packages of pads, tampons, and panty liners, 71 menstrual cups, 5 pairs of special period underwear, 5 packages of women’s underwear, 2 large bags of toiletries, and 5 bags of women’s business clothes and children clothes.

The items were divvied up between the Holly High School student pantry, the Holly Township Library pantry, Holly Middle School’s main office, Rose Hill Center, and LACASSA which is an organization dedicated to helping women escape abusive situations.

“It was a huge success all around,” Watt said.

The effort spread through online community groups, with Revive Sips and Sweets and Maruca’s Kitchen both serving as drop off points for donations, plus community members Heather Lyon Melton and April Brandon took the lead on arranging collections personally.  Revive Sips and Sweets even offered discounts on their delicious Bubble Tea for those who brought in items.

“Women by nature take care of others before themselves,” Watt said.  “In a country that is suffering with a disappearing middle class people are forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, many women get left behind on their self care.

“When it comes to the topic of menstruation, the narrative surrounding it is one of secrecy and shame. “Hide your pads”, “periods are gross” “don’t discuss in mixed company” and other archaic beliefs are deeply ingrained into our culture. The cost of period products continues to grow and for many women and their daughters, it is an added expense that at times they may have to do without. The financial component is huge for those who are struggling. Especially is there is more than one female in the household. The cost of 1-2 boxes of period products would cover a half to whole tank of gas, groceries, or other necessary items for daily living. By providing these necessary items in a positive way, we are working to give with dignity, have an important dialogue, and continue to end the stigmas around a completely normal and natural biological bodily function.”

Holly ACTS has a core group of about a dozen people, and a Facebook group with over 150. It began as a grassroots effort to host an anti-racism march in June 2020 and grew into the more formal organization. They have since held a demonstration in support of postal workers, held a mobile women’s march, held an allergy-free food drive, adopted families for Christmas, helped with Headwaters Land Conservancy cleanups, and sought ways to encourage people to run for local office. Brandon, for example, is now on the Library Board and Holly Village Councilperson Ryan Delaney is active with the group.

Also on their “to do” list has been advocating for Holly Area Schools to declare racism a public health crisis, and establishing an educational memorial for historic female figures in Holly’s history.  Both projects are in the works, with a presentation to the Holly Parks Commission to consider the location at Waterworks Park happening this week.

Learn more about Holly ACTS on Facebook.

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