NEWPORT — Katey Simmons was seeking a project that would help others as a way to show gratitude for her blessings.
As she was brainstorming ideas in May, Ms. Simmons became aware of a unique need facing girls in middle schools.
“I started calling the middle schools in Carteret County to see how many girls rely on the school nurses to provide their monthly feminine hygiene products,” she said in an email. “Shocked by the answers, I knew this was where my energy needed to be focused.”
Ms. Simmons said she discovered there were 122 middle school girls in the county that had little to no access to feminine hygiene products for various reasons.
“My question then became, what about the summer months when these girls don’t have their school nurses to rely on?” she said.
That’s when Ms. Simmons decided to create Katey's Kits, with the goal of collecting enough feminine hygiene products to last each girl in need for their entire summer break.
After sharing her idea on social media, she collected more than 11,000 pads and 5,000 tampons within two weeks. Multiple churches, local businesses and individuals from four states donated products and bags to discreetly package them.
Thanks to the donations, Ms. Simmons was able to donate 130 Katey’s Kits to four middle schools May 28. The bags were then passed out to students that day, as well as June 1.
Because of the overwhelming response from the community, Ms. Simmons has decided to extend her program to the Carteret County Domestic Violence Shelter, Family Promise of Carteret County, Matthew 25 at St. James United Methodist Church in Newport and the domestic violence shelter in Craven County.
“Katey's Kits are making a difference in how our young girls in Carteret County are spending their summer. I will continue to provide for the schools/girls as needed, as well as those in need in the community,” she said. “Knowing that I am taking a single worry off of a child in Carteret County has made all of this worth it.”
She admitted she has turned her living room into a sorting and packaging station and her family “has been right beside me helping every step of the way.”
Those interested in donating items or finding out more about Ms. Simmons’ mission can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.