Lakers host 'Be a Rose' donation drive

By Ty Konell | 11/16/16 11:52pm

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While many people know feminine hygiene products are as much a necessity as toothpaste or shampoo, not all people have access to them.

As a result, the Grand Valley State University organization Professional Organization for Women Entering Reality (POWER) has started working with the Be a Rose foundation by hosting a donation drive for feminine hygiene products.

POWER was founded during the fall 2015 semester and works to advocate for women’s rights and the importance of education.

“Our organization aims to teach the importance of education, professional etiquette and also to bring awareness to gender and minority inequalities within the professional world,” said De’Chelle Richards, POWER president. “Women's rights issues are so often swept under a rug and not spoken on. There's so much information that needs to be shared and so much legal reform that still needs to be instated.”

POWER members believe all people should have access to basic health and hygienic products, which led to a partnership with Be a Rose to hold a donation drive for feminine hygiene products.

“Feminine hygiene is swept under the rug so often, it needs to be discussed more. It is unacceptable that there is a tax on feminine hygiene, when feminine hygiene products are just as inherent as food and water,” Richards said. “Taxing feminine hygiene serves as discrimination because it only negatively affects one sex.”

“Feminine hygiene donations are important because women are under-served in times of their lives where they might be homeless, living in a group home, transitioning into society from prison or rejoining their families after military service abroad,” said Christine Mwangi, president of Be a Rose. “Men in the same situations do not have to spend money on these monthly items, which are taxed and not covered by food stamps.”

Furthermore, POWER officials said the two organizations have similar ideologies and provide opportunity.

“Be a Rose has common interests as myself. I am very passionate about legal reform as it pertains to women's rights and health issues,” Richards said. “Be a Rose gives myself and my organization community outreach opportunities, as well as giving myself a ton of experience with dealing with nonprofits. Be a Rose represents everything I stand for.”

Moreover, another reason behind the collaboration is location. Be a Rose, while maintaining a local presence, also extends its outreach globally.

“The products that are donated go to local organizations, shelters, group homes and to a school in Kenya that we have adopted,” Mwangi said.

Local organizations the foundation partners with Dégagé Ministries, New Destiny Pathways, Community Rebuilders, Cradles of Grace, Bethany Christian Services and Grand Rapids International Fellowship.

Throughout the 2016-17 school year, POWER will host a number of events from a holiday drive to a conference celebrating the success of women in their respective professional fields.

Although the POWER is aimed toward women’s rights issues, Richards said people of all genders are welcome to join.

“In order to join our organization, (you need to) have a good academic standing, a ton of ideas for enhancing the Grand Valley community and a great personality," Richards said.

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