It’s a big issue. Period

Jasmine Hawkens and Natasa Jesic with some donated products. (Joe Mastroianni)

Let’s talk about periods. That’s the message Hillside woman Donna Stolzenberg has for all the men, women and children in Victoria.

Ms Stolzenberg has started the Melbourne Period Project to shine light on a taboo which affects thousands of homeless women.

“Homeless women have to choose between food and sanitary products,” she says.

While the effects of homelessness permeate all aspects of life, women’s monthly cycles are rarely discussed or brought into the limelight.

But women can be forced to steal sanitary products, money or clothes if they can’t afford pads and tampons, Ms Stolzenberg says.

“Imagine the humiliation, pain and fear women experience when they’re sleeping rough and their period arrives,” she says.

“Half the population have them and we need to talk about it.”

Almost 100 people have already registered to be a drop-off centre for sanitary products which will be passed on to homeless women but Ms Stolzenberg is urging those in the west, where numbers are low, to join the cause.

Those wanting to donate sanitary products can drop them off at registered sites.

Ms Stolzenberg says packs to be distributed to homeless women will also contain scented disposable bags, gloves, hand sanitisers and wipes.