Guest blog post by Rachel Achor from Arkansas Women's Outreach. Our team at ONE is amazed by the dedication of this organization, and honored to have provided condoms to support their important work.
Arkansas Women's Outreach started 2015 as a result of Katy Simmons (the other cofounder) and I (Rachel Achor) realizing our shared passion for women's health issues through our Facebook friendship. We met and brainstormed about what we could do to help women in vulnerable populations access the items and services they need. During the conversation, we decided to focus our efforts on women in the homeless community.
Through a series of conversations with local organizations working with the homeless in Arkansas, we began to realize that women's health issues are not commonly able to be addresses by their programs. Because of this, we decided to use our organization to fill in a lot of the gaps in services for homeless women.
We accept donations of feminine hygiene products, condoms, new underwear, and other items the women need. We coordinate with local hospitals and clinics to arrange mammograms, HIV and STI testing, mental health intervention, and other health screenings for homeless women. Through this, we are not only able to help women avoid life-threatening infections that can be caused by using unsanitary substitutes for feminine hygiene products, but we are able to help them overcome the stigma of homelessness and find hope. Through distributing condoms and providing reproductive health education, we are able to help the women avoid STIs and unplanned pregnancies—both of which greatly exacerbate the difficulty of homelessness.
We distribute our supplies at a local dinner and a movie event for the homeless every Wednesday night in downtown Little Rock, AR. This is where we are able to talk to the women about what it is they need in order to tailor our services to them, as well as host educators and health professionals. Through our programs, we are able to meet the needs of approximately 60-70 women per week.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts! We couldn't do any of this without the support we have received from members of our local community as well as the larger community nationwide.