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Renee Wulterkens, Isabella ArthurScience students Renee Wulterkens and Isabella Arthur collected menstrual products, toiletries, and money for local charities that support women.

Altruistic undergrads donate carloads of toiletries to women in need

Two benevolent biomedical science majors turned their pandemic boredom into a successful fundraising campaign called “She Support Drive.” The first-year students, Renee Wulterkens and Isabella Arthur, collected menstrual products, toiletries, and money to donate to three Windsor charities that support women.

“We wanted to do something for our community and decided, in honour of International Women’s Day, we would collect menstrual products,” says Wulterkens.

“Our four-week campaign raised $12,368 in cash and we filled Isabella’s basement with a total of 25,800 female toiletry items ranging from tampons and pads to toothbrushes, shampoo, and lotion.”

The money and products will be distributed to Hiatus House, the Downtown Mission of Windsor, and the Welcome Centre, a shelter for women and families.

“Every shelter wanted something different and so we collected what each of them needed,” says Arthur. “For example, the Welcome Centre in particular asked for socks and bras and we were able to donate 931 gently-used bras and 300 pairs of socks.”

Local businesses helped by setting up drop-off bins, a dance company held a virtual dance class, one bakery raised almost $1,500 and the duo picked up porch donations from 100 households. They teamed up with 21 local Shoppers Drug Marts and raised almost $9,000 and were able to purchase products at cost.

The students enlisted the help of the Women in Science organization from the Faculty of Science to help spread the word and local media, including CTV Windsor, promoted the campaign.

“The need for these things has increased with lockdown and we couldn’t believe the feedback we got from the community — once the ball started rolling, it just kept going,” says Wulterkens.

Follow future She Support Drive projects on Instagram. It is currently engaged in a competition run by the Student Life Network and you can vote on the Remarkable Students Projects’ page.

“We are always here to support and empower our female science students,” says biomedical sciences professor Dora Cavallo-Medved, faculty supervisor for Women in Science. “And it’s amazing to see the impact they are making on the Windsor-Essex community.”

—Sara Elliott

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