While looking for ways they could make a difference in the Milpitas community, Girl Scout Troop 61186 members Kaycee Spannagel, Leilina Butler and Mia Boesenberg thought about the added struggle of being homeless while being a woman.
“When people think about the challenges individuals who are homeless face, they don’t typically think of the additional struggles of being a woman who has to experience the menstrual cycle without the proper resources,” Boesenberg said in an interview with the Post. “When people make donations for people who are homeless they usually donate soap or shampoo but they don’t think about pads and tampons,” which can be expensive and hard for women without resources to acquire.
Thus began the Silver Luna Project in June. The project’s mission is to collect tampons and pads to provide to homeless women and victims of domestic violence, something Spannagel, a Rancho Milpitas Middle School eighth-grader hopes to continue doing as long as there is a need.
The name for the project came from the Silver Award, the highest award a Cadette Girl Scout can earn, which the girls are working toward and from the word Luna, which Butler, also a Rancho eighth-grader, explained means lunar, relating to the female menstrual cycle.
The girls set up collection bins for pads and tampons at the Courtyard Marriott at 1480 Falcon Drive; the Chamber of Commerce building at 828 N. Hillview Drive; and at Milpitas Public Library at 160 N. Main St. The girls will keep the collection barrels at the library and chamber and look to add bins at their school sites.
The girls organized a donation rally at Albert Augustine Memorial Park on Aug. 20 with different vendors. They collected additional packages for San Jose based-Next Door Solutions for Domestic Violence and Santa Clara-based Bill Wilson Center.
Spannagel said the group learned a lot including how to reach out to people and companies and getting comfortable with public speaking.
Boesenberg said a lot of women and men in the community had been supportive of the project. The project “is helping open people’s eyes,” Butler said including their own.
When the project began the girls planned donating all the pads and tampons to Next Door, but found they had limited space to keep the packages that had been collected. That’s how they added the Bill Wilson Center, which provides resources to youth.
In addition, youth whose parents have kicked them out for being LGBTQ or who can no longer take care of them are among the young people who the girls met at the center.
“It was hard, when we go to the hangout area and I was looking around thinking these kids are our age. I look around my school and don’t think about having those problems and I am thinking how many of these kids at my school are affected by these problems,” Spannagel said. “If you saw the people at Bill Center and walked by them on the street you wouldn’t know they are homeless. I look at people more now and think you don’t know what’s going on their life.”
To learn more about the Silver Luna Project, visit facebook.com/TheSilverLunaProject/.
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