(WXYZ) — A nonprofit in Romulus is working to make sure women feel clean, loved and empowered by providing feminine hygiene kits.
The Clean Love Project launched in 2015. The organization officially became a nonprofit in 2017.
"In 2015, I basically was down in Detroit at a Lions game. We passed by a female sitting up against a building with blood stained pants," said Clean Love Project founder Lacey Catarino. "She was clearly experiencing homelessness. At that moment, I didn’t do anything for her but from that moment I said I need to do something."
Catarino says she got to work shortly after launching the organization. In the first year, Catarino says she packed around 250 kits to distribute by hand. She says the next year, they doubled the number of kits they made and gave out. As the organization got bigger, Catarino says she began working with other community organizations to get the products into the hands of people who needed them most.
In just a few years, the organization has managed to make 40,000 hygiene kits with products from donations and through the work of volunteers. The kits include tampons, pads, a toothbrush, hand sanitizer, socks and more.
"We have four kit assembling events each year, one each quarter, with 30 to 50 volunteers. We will pack 2,000 to 3,000 kits together at each event and then once the events are complete we will reach out to our community partners," said Catarino.
The kits then go to area shelters, food pantries, transitional housing and schools. Catarino says the small kits can mean restoring dignity to women who are struggling to provide for themselves.
"A lot of these ladies come from situations with nothing. So they leave abruptly or they end up in a shelter or they are just in need of the products that they’re not able to afford. So I think it’s huge," said Catarino. "I saw a need and I was able to help, that is the just of it. I just feel like if you’re able to help somebody then you should."
The Clean Love Project is gearing up for their next packing event which takes place on Feb. 25. More information about the event and opportunities to volunteer or donate can be found on the organization's website.