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Oak Park-River Forest chamber collecting feminine hygiene, baby essentials for giveaway

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The charitable drive being hosted by the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce is seeking donations for what it calls “care for down there,” an effort to collect feminine hygiene products, essentials for babies and more.

The “Women in Business Drive for Down There,” which began last month and continues through Friday, is a product drive to benefit Beyond Hunger and seeks donations of adult incontinence pads, diapers, menstrual products, toilet paper and wipes.

“We found out there was such a need in the community. It’s not even necessarily people who are on smaller, tighter budgets. For everybody, it’s very expensive,” Lou Anne Johannesson, chamber director of programming and membership, told Pioneer Press.

According to Johannesson, the chamber’s Women in Business Affinity Group is in the fourth year of collecting items, which began as the “Tampon and Diaper Drive” for products not covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known widely as food stamps.

She explained that the annual collection expanded to include adult care items in 2023 when it was brought to the attention of Women in Business that Medicare does not cover incontinence supplies.

“Last year, we first partnered with Beyond Hunger. They had not made these products available for people who take advantage of their services,” said Johannesson, a former Women in Business co-chair.

Oak Park drop-off locations listed on the chamber’s website include B-Health, 1010 Lake St., Suite 400; Blackout Baking Co., 210 S. Marion St.; Byline Bank, 1001 Lake St.; Civinte Candle Bar, 807 S. Oak Park Ave.; First United Methodist Church of Oak Park, 324 N. Oak Park Ave.; Jamilla Yipp Photography, 136 Harrison St.; and Mosaic Counseling and Wellness, 215 Harrison St.

The website also lists community donation boxes at Riveredge Hospital, 8311 W. Roosevelt Road, in Forest Park; The Sheridan at River Forest, 800 N. Harlem Ave.; and Yonan Carpet One, 7040 W. North Ave., in Chicago.

“That they support this really important donation drive every year speaks volumes about their willingness to give back to the community,” Johannesson said about the participating chamber members.

Those who would like to support Women in Business Drive for Down There but are unable to utilize the donation boxes may contact Johannesson at ljohannesson@oprfchamber.org to arrange other ways to contribute.

“These are things that people can’t really go without,” Johannesson said.

She characterized the 2023 product drive for a dignified family as “very successful.”

“I believe we had five full 6-foot tables that were 3 feet high or more of products,” Johannesson said. “We’re going to try and encourage people to continue to donate throughout the year.”

Jessi Virtusio is a freelancer.

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Jessi Virtusio , 2024-05-10 21:09:00

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