“You shouldn’t have to choose between feeding yourself and paying for sanitary supplies,” says Khadija Ahmed.
The 29-year-old Brooklyn resident is the organizer of“Pies and Pads,” a fundraiser tonight that will donate menstrual products to homeless women’s shelters.
Held at Pels Pie Co. in Prospect Lefferts Garden, the event’s entry fee comes in the form of pads, tampons or diva cups (or a $5 donation) that will go to the HELP Women’s Center in Brownsville and Covenant House in Camden, N.J.
It will also get you a raffle ticket for the gift basket of your (menstrual) dreams — filled with goodies you would certainly enjoy on your period, if not any other day: sex toys from Pure Romance, a heating pad, a bottle of wine, a pecan pie, a feminist zine called “Vagilantes.”
Tonight is the first in what will be a series of events, according to Ahmed, who along with her boyfriend is in the process of registering their efforts as a 501C. They’ll call it the Osun Collective, after the African goddess of fertility, love and sexuality. “It’s a symbol of strength in the community for women,” Ahmed says. (Those unfamiliar with the deity can look to Beyonce’s epic pregnant photo shoot and her video for “Hold Up.”)
Ahmed, who works as an assistant GM at a restaurant in Manhattan, says she's wanted to open a nonprofit since she interned at Amnesty International at age 19. She got the idea for the Osun Collective through a conversation with her boyfriend, wherein she recalled first moving to New York City six years ago, broke and confronted with a number of financial headaches, including paying for tampons. (Good riddance, tampon tax!) That got her thinking about women who really cannot afford what is a basic, hygienic need.
Now, she's put her plan in motion, beginning tonight, one pad, one slice of pie at a time.
If you go
Pels Pie Co.
446 Rogers Ave.
$5 entry, or donation of pads, tampons, or diva cups