This may seem like a strange topic, but let's broach the subject of feminine hygiene products. (Keep reading.)

A Johnston nonprofit will mark International Women's Day today by working to help less fortunate women by holding a "period packing" party. Give Grace, Give Hope's event is 1 to 3 p.m. today at the Hall in West Des Moines. It's the first time for this event, said Samantha Blettner, one of the organizers.

In 2017, about 30 percent of Iowans could not afford food, which likely means feminine hygiene products also weren't affordable. Pads and tampons are among the items to disappear quickly from shelves at area food pantries. There's certainly a business angle to this: Research shows that women who lack these products often take time off from work. A 2019 report from HealthDay about a new study on this topic said: "According to the study, 36 percent of the women said they had missed days of work due to lack of adequate period hygiene."

"Give Grace, Give Hope has only been going for about two years, but already the impact has been huge," said Blettner. They offer many volunteer opportunities throughout the year to create period packs and donate these packs to schools, homeless shelters and women's resource centers.

Today's event will help organizations like Broadlawns Medical Center, Clive Community Foundation, Des Moines Public Schools and others with supplies needed for women during their periods.

Learn more or sign up to help or donate.