Community Voices

Nonprofit provides homeless women with help — and free sanitary hygiene items

Ashley L. Eubanks founded The Beauty Initiative to help homeless women have the sanitary items they need each month. She and her volunteers packed 300 bags to donate.
Ashley L. Eubanks founded The Beauty Initiative to help homeless women have the sanitary items they need each month. She and her volunteers packed 300 bags to donate. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

It’s just a little blue bag, but it has a big purpose. In it are the necessary items to help homeless women living on the streets keep their dignity when it’s their time of the month.

Ashley L. Eubanks started her nonprofit The Beauty Initiative with the “Help Her, period” campaign, after proposing free interactive self-care and workshops at local shelters.

One day, she saw a young woman asking for money. Suddenly, Eubanks saw the woman was having her period and it had bled through her clothes. That was all it took to ignite a passion to help.

“My main goal is to truly help women that need help. In any way I can,” Eubanks said. “I’m a lover of beauty, a licensed esthetician, I have even owned a profitable cosmetic line, but nothing gives me joy like helping someone else!”

For her 30th birthday, Eubanks didn’t want a lavish party. She launched her initiative and requested sanitary items be donated instead of presents. Many others helped, and more than 12,450 items were given for homeless women in need.

She said she began with “her” in mind — the woman who is homeless, the domestic violence victim in the shelter, the student who can’t afford sanitary items or even the woman who just needs extra help.

“Can you imagine being homeless and not having necessary items?” Eubanks said. “Feminine hygiene products are not luxuries, they are necessities! It is our duty to help her. We’re all connected by a monthly occurrence.”

With assistance from her sister, Erica Eubanks, sponsorships from Walgreens and some smaller businesses, she wants to build the program.

Recently, she and 25 volunteers assembled 300 bags of hygiene products to distribute to local homeless women. She’s planning more donation drives and empowerment events.

And, now she is working in collaboration with SISTUHS, an organization with 20 years of giving back to nurture women. Throughout the next seven weeks, members of the various chapters of SISTUHS will collect items before gathering for their Founders Day on Dec. 3 to package the donations for homeless women in their cities. Sixteen colleges in Florida will be involved, Eubanks said.

Through Beauty Initiative, Eubanks wants to “bring beauty, dignity and pride to women that may have been forgotten, and provide services and free interactive workshops that host to those who are less fortunate, mainly women.”

“We have scheduled a Business & Beauty workshop that teaches resume, workplace attire, etiquette and beauty techniques to prepare women to reenter the workforce,” she said. And she wants “to create a sisterhood and bond between women of all walks of life through helping our fellow woman.”

“The excitement I received seeing women holding our bags was overwhelming. Some even hugged and gave me a high five! Yet, little did they know, I was more grateful,” she said.

To help and learn more, visit https://beautyinitiativeinc.org, write to info@beautyinitiativeinc.org or call 954-314-4308.

IMPACTS FROM SPACE

Volunteers from the Southern Cross Astronomical Society will host speaker Nebil Misconti, a retired professor from University of Central Florida, who will present a program about asteroid collisions, solar astronomy and more. 8 p.m. Friday at Florida International University Physics Lecture Hall, CP-145, 11200 SW Eighth St.

Misconti grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and attended the University of Istanbul, Turkey before his graduate studies in the U.S. His experiences involved astronomy research and media issues in the Middle East. Also included in his discussion will be “conversations with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, interplanetary dust, his launch of a rocket to observe the total solar eclipse July 1991 in Mexico, new protective armor against Star Wars laser weapons and views of global warming.”

The SCAS Astros include lively discussions and refreshments at each event.

For more, check out SCAS on Facebook or leave a message at 305-273-7291.

The group’s free Halloween Star Party will be 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 at the historic Fruit & Spice Park. Enjoy tram rides, a sing-a-long at the campfire and refreshments. Volunteers will have telescopes set up for night sky viewing. Call 305-247-5727.

WALK FOR SIGHT

The Miami Buena Vista Biltmore Lions Club will help mark Lions Club International’s 100 years of service at a Walk-a-Thon to raise donations to benefit programs dedicated to the preservation of sight and assistance to the blind.

Registration will start 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79th St. Everyone is invited to participate or become a sponsor. Contact coordinators Cathy Triana at cathytriana@gmail.com or Daniel Pedreira at daniel_pedreira@yahoo.com.

This club is committed to monthly service projects, such as eye health screenings several times a year, providing back-to-school supplies for more than 100 children annually and donating toys during the holidays at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

FERNS AND EXOTIC PLANTS

It’s that time of year again when the Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society holds its Rare Plant Auction at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Check out this event for interesting, rare and unusual finds for your garden along with an exciting plant auction.

The preview of plants begins 7 p.m. Oct. 24 with the auction following at 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables.

BACKGAMMON IS BACK

After an 18-month break, the Miami Backgammon Club is back to hosting tournaments plus regular games at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday beginning Oct. 26. Tournaments start promptly at 7 p.m. The group meets at 19th Hole Bar and Grill at The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.

This friendly group of South Florida backgammon enthusiasts welcomes players of all levels to join them. Come learn a new skill. There are no costs or membership fees to learn and play. The tournament entry fee is $10.

For more info call 305-669-5260 or write Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com, and check out http://miamibackgammon.com/

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

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