Throwing a packet of pads or tampons in the shopping trolley shouldn't be something that's taken for granted, but for some women, sanitary items are a luxury they can't afford.
South-west women will benefit as part of this month's national Share the Dignity campaign to collect sanitary items and donate them to local charities.
Share the Dignity asks the public to purchase new and unopened packets of sanitary items - pads, tampons, menstrual cups and incontinence aids for women and girls experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Warrnambool team leader Narelle Hill said donated items would be given to south-west based charities and distributed to women in need.
"It's very hard to imagine that there's a lot of women out there who can't afford sanitary products," Mrs Hill said.
"If you think about a mum who's thinking about feeding her kids or buying sanitary products, she's going to feed her family.
"It's something all women can relate to, we need those products. It's not a luxury, even though it's been taxed as a luxury for a long time.
"There are a lot of women who can't afford these products and have to use socks or toilet paper. It's unbelievable what women have to go through and there are kids at school who can't access products either."
"It is a luxury for some people."
Donations will be accepted until the end of the month at Warrnambool collection points including Chemist Warehouse (both Gateway Plaza and Liebig Street stores) BP Warrnambool East near the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery on Raglan Parade, Anytime Fitness in Gateway Road, the ANZ and Bendigo banks in Liebig Street and Women's Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West in Koroit Street.
In Port Fairy, the Bendigo Bank is collecting items and in Hamilton they can be dropped to Hamilton post office during business hours or Kangatraining at the Hamilton showgrounds on Tuesdays.
Share the Dignity holds its Dignity Drives each April and August to collect sanitary items for women and girls in crisis.
In 2018 the organisation distributed over 400,000 sanitary items and with the rising number of Australians experiencing poverty and homelessness, the demand it is expected to be even higher in 2019.
On any given night in Australia, one in 200 people are homeless. Of those 44 per cent are female and 27 per cent are children under the age of 18. Family violence is the number one reason people present to homeless services which 55 per of homeless females cite as their reason for presenting.
Share the Dignity founder Rochelle Courtenay said the organisation helped in some small way to alleviate the undignified situations thousands of Australian women have to endure.
"When women and girls cannot have access to the essential feminine products, they become extremely resourceful," Ms Courtenay said. "They're using wadded up newspaper, or toilet paper, or socks. This should not be happening.
"So many women, every month, have to forfeit sanitary products because they cannot afford them. Many mothers have to choose between buying tampons and feeding their children. Girls miss out on school simply because families cannot afford to buy the basics of necessities," she said.
For more information go to sharethedignity.com.au