UT group makes “flow kits” for women in need of feminine products

Minnah Zaheer

A “Flo Party” held on Thursday in the Austin area aimed to help women in need in a particular way: building “flow kits” filled with feminine hygiene products. 

Flo Code, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to local organizations for women, teamed up with UT’s Texas Rotaract and the Austin Cosmopolitan Rotary Club to host a “Flo Party” at The Clay Pit, during which participants packed kits using menstrual products purchased for the event and donated by Rotary members. 

“One of our main goals this year is to focus on helping mothers and children, as well as to provide sanitation and hygiene,” said Ivy Khuc, a marketing junior and president of Texas Rotaract. “The event is being hosted with the mission and intent to spread awareness and end stigmas about periods.” 

During the event, around 30 participants put sanitary wipes into bags, which were then placed into bigger bags that consisted of four tampons, four pads and four panty liners in an assembly-line format.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how high the taxes on these products can be and how women experiencing homelessness have to choose between these products and food, for example,” said Kacie Cardwell, a public health graduate student. “I like these kinds of events because they help raise awareness of that and minimize weird feelings people might have about periods.” 

After filling up individual bags with feminine hygiene products, participants placed them into larger garbage bags to be more easily transported. The bags filled with completed flow kits will be donated to local organizations, including schools and homeless shelters. 

Flo Code founder Lamanda Ballard said the highest number of “flow kits” packed at one of these events was 3,309.

Ballard said her organization started in Austin one year ago and has since branched out to other areas of Texas. 

“Flo Code focuses on providing feminine products to underprivileged women and girls in the Austin community,” Ballard said. “We really wanted to show people that we’re not just focused on homeless women. We’re also helping underprivileged communities in general. We helped out a lot with Hurricane Harvey, and we donated about 50,000 Flo Packs and raised $80,000 in just two weeks. Just to date, we’ve donated over 118,000 feminine hygiene products altogether.”