Camions of Care Tackles “Taboo” Topic to Help Homeless Women

camions Nadya is a bright, energetic junior at Caitlin Gabel School in Northwest Portland. Her passion for helping homeless women is evident as she explains the purpose of the nonprofit she founded, Camions of Care.

“You see, I experienced a small degree of homelessness myself two years ago. I moved out to Oregon when I was nine, after my parents divorced, and when my mom lost her job we soon couldn’t afford to live in our house and we had to move out. We were ‘couch surfing’ with friends for the next several months. I was constantly worried about food and getting to school. It was hard, and I was pessimistic,” Nadya recalls.

To combat the negativity in her life, Nadya started volunteering at St. Andre Bessette, an organization that serves the homeless. She started connecting with homeless women and discovered an essential, yet unmet, need.

“It is such a taboo subject, but it is a need of every woman I talked to and there is very little access to adequate feminine hygiene products. It is a very real struggle for homeless women.”

Nadya founded Camions of Care to help provide feminine hygiene products to women. Camions of Care delivered 42 feminine hygiene kits to Union Gospel Mission on Saturday, May 2. In addition to Union Gospel Mission, Camions of Care provides kits to 10 other Portland area organizations as well as outreach to other parts of the United States and internationally.

“We have expanded our focus to talk about the needs of women and girls in a broader way. In some countries, menstruation is a barrier for girls to access school. We are moving into talking with our own government about the needs of homeless women.”

An additional goal is to get youth involved in an uncomfortable subject. Nadya, with the help of volunteer coordinator, Alison Natter, set up a drive for Camions of Care at Catlin Gabel that included displaying feminine hygiene products, which drew the attention of her classmate, sophomore Drake Warren.

camions2“I was really uncomfortable to see that. I thought ‘I’m uncomfortable’ but it is way worse for a homeless woman to have to deal with it. I knew I had to suck it up and do something,” Drake said.

Drake helps with the deliveries of the hygiene kits to a number of organizations.

“Our name Camions of Care is about mobility. Bringing care to women in need,” Nadya explained as she and Drake set out for the rest of the day’s deliveries. [gap size="100px"] [share facebook="true" twitter="true" google_plus="true" linkedin="true" pinterest="true"]