An initiative tackling period poverty has set its sights on a key barrier to seeking support - stigma.
Share the Dignity is seeking to start conversations about menstruation with the launch of a national campaign, Period Pride.
"We know that there are people experiencing period poverty who are not asking for help, due to the deep seeded feelings of shame and embarrassment surrounding our periods," Lauren Read, the regional leader for the Bendigo area, said.
"If we can help break down this stigma, then we can help reach those people who so desperately need assistance."
Share the Dignity is aiming to prompt discussions about people's experiences with menstruation and normalise "period chat".
"Talk to your friends, your co-workers, your family. Share your experiences; ask what products they use; when they first got their period and their funniest period story (we all have one)," Ms Read said.
"Storytelling is a very powerful tool and by taking control of the conversation, we change the narrative that periods are something to be ashamed or embarrassed about."
A "bloody big survey" forms part of the Period Pride campaign, with hopes the data will help demonstrate the social, personal and financial issues surrounding menstruation in Australia.
Share the Dignity will receive a packet of sanitary pads from U by Kotex for every completed survey.
The charity is also in the midst of its March Dignity Drive, collecting period products to distribute to those in need.
Ms Read said donations received in Bendigo would be distributed to the region's service providers.
"Demand for products has increased with awareness in the community. Our aim is for all relevant organisations to understand what we are able to provide, so that they can incorporate period care as part of the service they provide," she said.
To meet demand in the Bendigo region, the charity will need more than 500 pads and almost 400 tampons.
There is also demand for incontinence pads, maternity pads and menstrual cups.
Ms Read said Bendigo had grown to be one of Share the Dignity's strongest Victorian regions for community awareness and support.
In six months, the charity went from receiving 20 donations to more than 2300. Volunteer numbers more than tripled.
"We have seen a steady increase since then and have consistently met the needs of the community with each campaign, thanks to the generosity of the Bendigo people," Ms Read said.
"We especially appreciate the continued support from local businesses, whether by nominating themselves as a collection point, arranging workplace giving or helping promote our campaigns via their social media pages."
Products can be donated at Woolworths stores and a number of nominated businesses.
Share the Dignity said all approved products were accepted, including pads, tampons, menstrual cups, period underwear, reusable pads and incontinence products.
All donations must be in their original packaging.
For more about Period Pride or to complete the survey, visit sharethedignity.org.au/period-pride
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