“I was living in the UK with my boyfriend and my Visa was about to expire. I came home to Mobile for the holidays and to figure out what I was going to do with my life.
In England, they do a lot with period products and distribute them back into the community. I thought it would be good to do something like this in Mobile. I started MOnthly to give packs with period products to women who need them, hoping that my family and I could eliminate period poverty during the holiday season and give women one less thing to worry about during November and December.
We gave packs to Penelope House and McKemie Place and handed them out to homeless women getting meals at St. Louis Street Missionary Baptist Church. This is my first time running a project like this. People have been generous and we have almost reached our goal of 200 packs. We will continue giving them out through January.
My dad is military, but he retired to Mobile because it is home and the place we lived the longest. My grandmother and other family members live in Brownsville in Pensacola and we have a strong connection there. It is a low-income neighborhood and I saw that you could be a hard worker and still struggle to make ends meet. Good people can do the best that they can and it is not enough. These are the people I want to help.
I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I graduated in the top 20 in my class at Spring Hill College. I met my boyfriend two weeks before the end of fall semester my junior year. He was from France and left school to play soccer in London. We kept dating after those two weeks. I joked about applying to Oxford and I would only be an hour away from him. I applied in December of 2018 and was accepted to the program that started in January. I studied women’s literature at Oxford and I was in heaven. I graduated from Spring Hill in December 2019. I went back to the UK to take a break and apply for grad school, but COVID happened. I wasn’t able to get into grad school or find a job.
It is hard for recent graduates to find their place and be an adult in this COVID world. They tell you that you will graduate from college, get a job and everything will be okay. That is not the case right now. I tried to do an application a day for jobs in the UK and the U.S. and got rejection after rejection. I wondered what was wrong with me.
I want to get my master’s degree in public policy and work in politics. I applied for grad school, but they told me I needed to get real-world experience. That was my plan when COVID hit, but I couldn’t find a way in.
When I came home to Mobile, I started volunteering at the Food Pantry at Central Presbyterian Church. I was inspired by people who were kind and gave much of their time to help others. I got to work on the ground and started getting the experience I needed. But I also got the courage to start something new with MOnthly. If it fails, it fails. But if it succeeds, it could be wonderful.
My mom and aunt help make the period packs. They contain two maxi pads, three regular pads, five tampons, five pantiliners and a Hershey’s Kiss. Women are happy to get them and say they need this. I want to get my little sister and cousins involved.
I want to turn MOnthly into a business and sustain it. I would love to get back to the UK and work on this in the UK and Mobile. The big dream is to manufacture affordable, reusable period products that are better for the environment. The sales would go back into Mobile’s community. I have a younger sister and cousins and want to get them involved.
I went to the UK to figure things out. Instead, coming home to Mobile and starting MOnthly helped me find my purpose in a difficult year.”
If you would like to help MOnthly, there is a donation box at the United Way office on St. Francis Street in Mobile. Their cashapp is $MoMOnthly.