Earlier this week, I was watching a video clip of a young woman named Katie. Katie has been working with people in poverty since she was a middle school student. She has been to Africa to work in schools and orphanages and now she organizes outreach efforts so that people who are more resourced can help people who are less so. At the end of the video, she made this profound statement, we are the plan.
I’m considering a new avenue of ministry that may prove to be a little uncomfortable for some. A year or so ago, I read an article that broke my heart. I learned that in parts of Africa, it is common for girls to fall behind and eventually drop out of school after they begin to have their periods. The author wrote that girls miss school while they are menstruating because access to feminine hygiene products is quite limited. They stay home because there is no good way to deal with the bleeding. And in some circumstances, it costs them their chance at an education.
Since I’ve started the Steady On ministry, I wondered if there might be something I can do to be a part of the solution to this problem. I don’t know anyone in Africa. I don’t know about schools there. I realize that I only read that one article so I’m not even really educated on the problem. But I couldn’t shake the feeling.
So I began to look online for more information and I happened across a website for I Support The Girls, an organization in Washington D.C. This agency works with homeless women and girls to provide bras and feminine products. They also work with women rescued from situations of domestic violence and sex trafficking. On their FAQ page, I read about how often times women in these types of situations have to choose between buying food or tampons.
My heart broke all over again when I realized this isn’t just an issue in Africa. There is a collection site for I Support the Girls in Edwardsville, IL. And then it dawned on me that there is a Women’s Center in Carbondale, IL. This isn’t a problem somewhere else. This is likely a problem right here. In the same town where I reside. So I’m on a fact-finding mission. I’ve sent a few emails and I’m gathering information.
If we are the plan, then how can we respond to a need and make a difference? How can we share our resources in such a way that it offers hope, restores dignity, and relieves anxiety? Maybe it’s by collecting tampons. I almost feel sorry for what may be happening in my house full of boys. Alex is fearful his mom will become “the tampon lady”. Oh, well. It might be the plan.
Maybe there will be an opportunity to help with this issue. I don’t know yet. But I do know we are the plan. WE are the ones who can recognize and respond to needs. WE are the ones who are gifted in ways that bless and benefit others. WE are the ones who can bring positive change in our homes, churches, and communities. Let’s do it. Let’s be the plan. Peace!