(WHTM) — A Midstate woman is on a mission to address period poverty among unsheltered and low-income families. 

In Pennsylvania, 1 in 6 women and girls between the ages of 12 and 44 live below the federal poverty line, meaning menstrual products are a financial burden.  

“I had a call from a counselor once….one of her students was missing school because she was bleeding through, and no one was buying her the products she needed,” said President and CEO of Making Miracles Happen Inc dba The Period Project Harrisburg Megan Swope.

When Megan Swope was finishing her nursing degree, she learned about period poverty and the financial burden that comes with it.

“It is unbelievably expensive for anyone but particularly for someone on a fixed income……A lot of people don’t realize in their community there are college students, there are elementary school students that are facing this struggle every day,” said Swope.

Swope started the ‘Period Project Harrisburg,’ a non-profit that provides pads and tampons in a period pack to unsheltered and low-income families in the greater Harrisburg area.

On Saturday, at the Capital Blue Cross Connect store in Enola. More than 25 volunteers packaged over 1,000-period packs.

“It is important to us because we want to help our community and help the woman and girls with their hygiene products,” said Kaylyn Rodriguez a volunteer.

“I always took for granted that I had supplies and that my daughter had supplies and that our life would go on day to day easily when we had our periods and I came to recognize that it’s not the case for another woman,” said Debby Abel a volunteer.

These products are essential and without them, it can become life-threatening.  

“It is a health issue, it’s not just an issue of you know you can do without, this is an issue that is life-threatening, people will extended wear when they can’t afford which puts them at risk for toxic shock syndrome,” said Swope.  

Swope says the goal this year is to distribute 15,000-period packs.