2020 has seen a massive escalation in calls for help to Share the Dignity, the charity that supplies free sanitary items to women and girls in need.
"We started the year with the bushfires," says founder Rochelle Courtenay.
"We have 5000 volunteers, who we call 'sheroes' and heroes, and they were working all through January to make sure that people who had lost everything in the fires wouldn't go without those very basic essentials."
"But that meant that our stock was completely emptied by the bushfires – we had nothing left."
The charity was counting on its March Dignity Drive to replenish. During Share the Dignity's annual drives, bins are provided in Woolworths stores and shoppers are encouraged to buy extra sanitary items to donate.
People are generous and in the last five years the charity has distributed over 2.5 million items. But this year, COVID struck. Suddenly there was no stock on the shelves and the drive was cancelled.
"When COVID hit, we were dealing with 3.2 million Australians living under the poverty line," says Rochelle.
"We have to assume that at least a million of those are menstruating women who can't afford sanitary products. And since then we've seen an increased demand.
"I've met women using tea towels and washers. We hear women saying, I can't afford products for my daughter, so she can't go to school."
"I remember meeting a young woman who was so resourceful. She makes me cry. She would go into the laundromat and steal socks to use to deal with her period."
There has however been one piece of really good news lately.
Australian-owned, eco-friendly feminine care product company, Veeda, has joined forces with Share the Dignity, agreeing to provide 160,000 pads directly to the charity and to partner with them in their August Dignity Drive.
Through their global charity, Naturalena Foundation, Veeda has already gifted over 3.1 million products to women in 10 countries. Now, with Share the Dignity, they're hoping to help end period poverty here.
So, this August, the Dignity Drive will be back! Bins will be displayed in all Woolworths stores and other locations, and Veeda and Share the Dignity urge The Weekly's readers to buy a pack of Veeda for themselves and donate a second pack of tampons, period or incontinence pads for the needy.
Or make a financial donation via Share the Dignity's website.