ROCKLAND — Even with prior warning of what to expect when the pallet arrived, One Less Worry’s Sharon Hobson was still nervous about how much space the bulk order would consume. On Monday, Aug. 22, a semi truck delivered a shrink-wrapped eight foot tall stack containing 1,680 individual boxes that amassed a total of 26,880 tampons.
Though the space-consuming tower remained daunting to Hobson as it blocked the driveway of One Less Worry, Hobson also felt relief as the nonprofit’s termination date looms.
For several years now, she has scoured store shelves and purchased feminine products for the women who need them. Even personal car trips were often diverted so that Hobson could case the feminine aisle of the retail store she was passing.
“In the beginning, I used to get this pushback all the time,” she said.
They’d ask if she was worried that, “People that don’t need them are going to take them,” she said. “And I would just look at them and say ‘no, I’m worried that people that need them won’t have them.’”
This year is Hobson’s last as the do-everything-herself boots on the ground nonprofit, which has been supported by board members.
One Less Worry will close Jan 2, 2023, leaving her 30 distributors with a void. Those distributors include most of the schools in Knox County along with five food pantries, Rockland and Rockport libraries, The Landing Place, and New Hope Midcoast.
Hobson’s closing goal has been to provide her 30 regular distributors with at least three months worth of supplies after the termination date. As such, she urged her scouts to make any purchases they could where tampons were 25 cents or less.
A board member suggested internet and bulk, which Hobson had never tried before in regards to tampons. Hobson called a New Jersey company and, coincidentally, the company was having a pallet sale. Seventeen cents per tampon. Using donation and grant money to the tune of $5,000, she made the purchase. And met her goal.
“Doing this meant a lot less stress in my life, of having to worry every single day, do I need to go to another store? There were days that I was going to four or five stores,” she said.
And though the nonprofit is going away, Hobson continues on the front lines of advocacy. She is ready to share her knowledge with the distributors – Sept. 15, in the AIO parking lot – and says that many of the responsibilities she carried could easily be done by another.
“I like the idea that I don’t own this,” she said, “that we all own this opportunity to help people who need this.”
Hobson helped in the fight to eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products, and she continues to advocate for products to be available in public places. Currently, she’s worried about the raise in price and the dip in availability of pads.
“We need to do a better job – not just as a community, but wholly – to understand that we should have tampons in bathrooms,” she said. “Not just school bathrooms, but we should have them in restaurants. They should be matter-of-factly every place. We shouldn’t be surprised to walk into a bathroom and find a tampon. It should be ‘yay’ I need that right now.”
Reach Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org