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Nonprofit partner of the quarter- Flo Code!

Every quarter, Blow partner's with a new non profit with a mission based in supporting women! A portion of the profits from every candle sold goes directly to the organization in order to support and enrich the programs and resources they provide for women! 

Please meet, Flo Code!

I first learned about Lamanda and Flo Code a few years ago through various mutual connections and have always admired her mission and work. What her organization has done and continues to do for women and the community is beyond incredible, having donated over 500K menstrual products since founding. In addition, Flo Code is currently working to promote and support legislation ending the tampon tax! Check out more about this amazing non-profit organization and how you can help below! 

 

What is Flo Code? How long have you been going?

Flo Code is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that launched in Central Texas in 2017. We are the leading support organization in the Texas community donating over 500K menstrual products to nonprofits, shelters, schools and natural disaster victims. At Flo Code we work to advance the common good by focusing on health, education and social injustice in our community. We also strive to educate, bring awareness to and end the stigma of menstruation in our society. Continuously encouraging our volunteers to make a difference by attending our Flo Parties and advocating for reproductive health.


How did you get started? What moved you to get started?

Shortly after moving to Austin I started volunteering at a homeless shelter downtown. One of the directors mentioned that they never received enough menstrual products as donations to truly serve their community's needs. So, I thought it would be a great idea to collect pads and tampons on behalf of the shelter. After hosting just 3 community service events, we had over 300 volunteers involved and received over $18K in donations! Right off the bat, this empowered us to help Hurricane Harvey victims who had lost everything due to the storm. Ultimately, what started off as a small project and volunteer opportunity with friends turned into Flo Code.

 


What type of programs/events do you organize?

Pre-COVID, our organization would host bi-monthly community service events we like to call ‘Flo Parties’. Flo Parties are an opportunity for volunteers to bring donations and package together menstrual kits (or as we call them ‘Flo Packs’) that will be donated to the homeless, schools, and nonprofit organizations in Central Texas. During our events we invite speakers to share information about their businesses/orgs, educate our volunteers on different reproductive health issues, and truly create a safe space for our volunteers to ask questions. Since the pandemic, our organization focuses on virtual Flo Parties and donation drives that will allow us to still distribute menstrual products in the safest way possible.

 

What are your plans/goals for Flo Code in the new year?

We’re excited to launch more chapters across Texas and implement even more programs that will empower us to keep educating our community. We hit a milestone during the pandemic by donating 500K menstrual products since we launched in 2017. One major goal is to double this amount! The HB321 bill passing in Texas would be a HUGE win for everyone focused on reproductive health, education, and access. We supported Rep. Donna Howard’s HB 311 in the 2019 legislative session, which would have ended the tampon tax, by spreading the word and reaching out to her office and other legislators who supported Ms. Howard.  We have promoted the end of the tampon tax and educated our supporters about menstrual equity issues through our social media channels. We are on board to promote and support Ms. Howard’s new bill HB 321 to end the Texas tampon tax this year. You can track the status of the bill here.

In the interim between legislative sessions, we met with several Austin City Council members, including Natasha Harper-Madison, Delia Garza, Paige Ellis, and Jimmy Flannigan to get support and put forth an initiative to end the tampon tax on a local, city-wide level. Unfortunately, those efforts stalled with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also currently working directly with Councilwoman Natasha Harper-Madison on her Menstrual Equity Initiative.


How will the donated funds impact Flo Code?

All funds donated to Flo Code are poured right back into our community. Monetary donations received will go towards purchasing menstrual products.

 


Community asks- what are resources you need that we can highlight to the community? Professionals to come and speak, donated items, workshop facilitations, facility donations, etc.

I think the biggest challenge with any small nonprofit starting out is funding infrastructure. Without a Grant Writer it’s really hard to host as many service events as possible or create new programs that will allow volunteers to continuously stay involved. We are also aiming to gain more partnerships with menstrual product distributors so we can shift our focus from being community-funded.


What’s the difference between period poverty and menstrual equity?

Most people don’t realize that period poverty and menstrual equity aren't the same thing. I’ve even seen companies run campaigns framing people paying taxes on menstrual products as "period poverty" and that’s just not accurate.

Period poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products, reproductive health education, bathrooms and clean water. It’s a global issue that people work to address in other countries, and yet it often isn't adequately addressed within our own communities at home. Period poverty is also a shared experience among those in low-income communities.

Menstrual equity refers to increasing the education, availability and affordability of period products for those who have limited access. As an organization, it’s so important for our team to teach volunteers to be a voice and advocate for those who go unheard.

 

How can the community get involved with Flo Code?

Periods don’t stop because of a pandemic. There are still people in need. If you’re interested in getting involved in the work we do, I recommend purchasing menstrual products, creating period kits at home (including 5 pads and 5 tampons in quart size bags), and passing them out as you pass homeless women/trans men. With shelters reaching capacity, a lot of them are forced to free bleed with limited access to clean water. Help restore dignity by providing access to those in need.

Another meaningful way to get involved is by donating and volunteering with nonprofits in the menstrual justice space. No donation is ever too small! With a donation of just $10, Flo Code can purchase 46 pads, 40 liners, 32 tampons and 2 packs of wipes. You can donate on our website or by texting FLOCODE to 44-321. If you would like to continue to support our efforts, send us an email at info@flocode.org and volunteering as one of our Flo Ambassadors! Also, be sure to follow us on social media and share our content in order to bring awareness to their peers.

 


Instagram, Twitter: @flocodexo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/flocodexo

Website: www.flocode.org