Patrick King, AMADC's President Elect and Founder of Imagine, has been running an out-of-the box campaign called "Tamponathon," a donation drive for feminine hygiene products for under-served women in Loudon County. It's a concept that fits with our focus on women in marketing efforts at AMADC, so we are adopting it for the month of November 2019.
Being the curious sorts that we are, we wanted to hear how Patrick came up with the concept. We caught up with Patrick at Imagine, the digital marketing, advertising and branding agency he started in 2004.
AMADC: First of all, you're a guy. Why would you care about women's hygiene products?
Patrick King: I agree with how it can seem strange, but I'm a guy with a mother, daughter, and granddaughter. When I realized how overlooked women's health was among the homeless community, and that school nurses have to pay out of pocket to stock their clinics, I was shocked. On a national average, 1 in 5 girls miss school and 36% of women have missed work because they didn't have access to feminine hygiene products. In a recent study, half of women on public assistance indicated they often have to decide between buying food or feminine hygiene products.
For years, Imagine has collected or purchased food for local shelters. A need for feminine products is something that we - and I guess the community at large - may not think about. I've heard it may be taboo - I think that's absurd.
AMADC: When and how did you come up with the concept? Is this a "you and only you" show or did you have some help?
PK: Actually, the idea was introduced to me by a writer that works with us, Emma Young. She came to Imagine a few years ago to brainstorm how to address the need and we came up with the Tamponathon concept. The Tamponathon team has grown to a small army that does an amazing job of collection and distribution.
It's not totally original - there are similar efforts throughout the country. We've just put our own spin on it.
AMADC How long have you been running Tamponathon in Prince William County and what has been the impact so far?
PK: We just wrapped up our third drive at the end of September (the campaign lasts for one month each year). Our first year, we collected about 8,000 products. Last year, we received well over 12,000. This year, the team collected and distributed over 30,000 feminine products to shelters and schools.
What really helped was the Amazon wish list that people can use to have products delivered. I've had conversations with clients or friends from outside of our area that turned into deliveries.
AMADC What inspired you to share it with AMADC?
PK: Washington, DC has one of the largest homeless communities in the country and almost a thousand of them are women. There are organizations like Thrive DC that work to provide products for that population, but it's no small task.
There's also a lack of awareness of this problem because people don't want to talk about it. In fact, many homeless women don't ask shelters for products out of shame or discomfort. There needs to be both an increase in awareness and a change of perception, and what better group to ask than one of the professionals that are experts in both?
AMADC: What do you see as the future of Tamponathon?
PK: I would like to see the need for feminine products - as well as diapers and children's' needs - to be something we consider when we think of the homeless. Through the AMADC Tamponathon and similar efforts, I think it's something we can achieve.