"Period poverty and period stigma are so prevalent in the world and don't need to be," said Shelley Aragoncillo.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A South Philadelphia woman is trying to change the conversation around menstruation by making products for it more accessible in her own community.
On the side of her row home, Shelley Aragoncillo opened a shed stocked with necessities for people who menstruate or are pregnant.
"Period poverty and period stigma are so prevalent in the world and don't need to be," said Aragoncillo, who calls her shed "Grab-N-Flow."
"It is a free community menstrual and postpartum shed," she said. "It's a product that I feel like should be so easily accessible and affordable but they are products that are inaccessible to people that need them."
Aragoncillo works as a clinical research coordinator in family planning at Penn Medicine, a job that opened her eyes to discrepancies in her own neighborhood.
"Quite a few of those communities are communities that are historically underserved, communities that have very limited and kind of horrific access to healthcare," said Aragoncillo.
She decided to bring her work home with her and opened the shed last February.
"It started as 'this is going to go as long as I can keep it stocked' and the outpouring from the community has been incredible," said Aragoncillo.
Penn Medicine gave her $2,000 for the shed and the community has donated $1,400 too.
Her dream for "Grab-N-Flow" is bigger than her neighborhood. Shelley is working with the Free Library of Philadelphia to put a shed at every branch in underserved communities. She thinks that will be just the beginning.
"I think that this could become a national model," she said. "It could be a discreet way for people to access resources that they need in a safe location."
It's an idea born out of the pandemic and encouraged by the birth of her own son.
"I gave birth the day the city went into lockdown," she said. "I couldn't imagine not having access to formula that your child needs to survive."
She hopes when her son grows up, it will be in a more equitable world.
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