The Truth Staff
All the students of Jones Leadership Academy are now able to acquire bags of hygiene products due to a collaboration of Toledo Public Schools, Neighborhood Health Association, school parents, the University of Toledo staff and students and assorted volunteers from the community.
For several years now the school’s hygiene drive has brought together people to pack bags with products donated by NHA and companies such as Aunt Flow and Luster Hair products to fill the school’s hygiene pantry.
The school set up the hygiene pantry so that students can visit and take the product home with them to overcome period poverty and hygiene poverty.
The hygiene drive started, said former the president of the school’s Parent Tears Organization, Joanna White, when she and other parents began to realize that so many girls were missing days of school on a regular monthly basis. Thus began the desire and a drive to end period poverty at the school.
However, they also began to realize that many students suffered not only from hygiene poverty, but also from the subsequent taunting that they encountered from their fellow students, said White.
Soon NHA became involved with the project to help the students, in part because the school is next door to the Cordelia Martin Center and the students come from so many families that the Center serves, said Monica Morales, NHA program coordinator.
“We have had a relationship with Jones Leadership Academy and want to develop a closer relationship by supporting our families,” said Morales. “Girls were missing school during the same week of the month,” she said repeating White’s observation of the issues the students faced.
UToledo also has become involved, particularly bringing assistance from the school’s AFSCME chapter, the Eberly Center and the BLX (Black and Latinx students).
Last week’s drive also included presentations to seventh and eighth grade students on matters of proper hygiene – sessions separated into boys groups and girls groups.
This year’s hygiene drive began on September 5 and as a result of the program the hygiene pantry is now fully stocked and Joanna White is in discussions to organize the program at other TPS schools.