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Yogis collect thousands of feminine hygiene products for Buffalo school

Tampons, deodorant, facial wipes are considered "luxury items" for families who qualify for food stamps and SNAP benefits.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — They're not something every girl necessarily wants to talk about, but they are something every girl needs. They can even get so expensive that the cost can keep girls in our community from going to school or playing sports. 

"We were unaware that you could not use food stamps or SNAP benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products, that they're considered a 'luxury item,'" Girls on the Run Buffalo Board President Julia Spitz told 2 On Your Side.   

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit that empowers young girls by helping them train for 5K races. When the organization started working with a group at Buffalo Public School #92  this past fall, they noticed some of the girls would skip school or practice when they didn't have the supplies they needed to participate. 

"Those less fortunate are already at a disadvantage, and then they have to purchase these, not with their benefits, but with what little cash on hand they have," Spitz explained.  

Spitz is also an instructor at Power Yoga Buffalo. She organized a drive at the studio during the month of December, putting out the call for tampons, pads, deodorant, and facial wipes. 

"We started off with just three small pink bins, and they just started overflowing," she said as she was packing up the final haul of thousands of items. The drive took off when Julia started spreading the word on Instagram. 

"Every time someone would send me a Venmo, I would take a picture of myself shopping at Wegmans or Tops, or Rite Aid or CVS," she said. "Then people just kept Venmo-ing me, and kept delivering tampons to my house. It was great." 

Everything will go to BPS #92 this week. The items will be free for anyone who needs them, regardless of if they participate in Girls on the Run. 

"It will be organized and the girls can shop, for lack of a better term, privately for what they need, when they need it," Spitz said.  "Clearly we struck a nerve. People seem to get behind this cause." 

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