It's about this time of year, for the past three years, that Amy Pizarro wonders what her mail carrier must think.
"I just don't know what he thinks bringing huge boxes of pads and tampons to my house every day," Pizarro said.
The brief answer is that all the feminine hygiene products piling up on Pizarro's dining room table are not for her.
For the longer explanation, Pizarro must go back three years when she read an article on-line about who how difficult it was for homeless women to get feminine hygiene products during their periods.
The dateline of the article was somewhere on the East Coast, but Pizarro had a hunch it wasn't just a regional problem. She emailed a contact at HomeFirst, a network of homeless shelters in the South Bay, asking if it were an issue for homeless women in the Bay Area.
The answer came back an emphatic, "Yes."
Pizarro learned that while people are quick to donate food, clothing, and blankets to homeless services organizations, they often don't think about the need for feminine hygiene products. Compounding the matter is how expensive the products are, so even when the shelters pay for them, there aren't always enough for all the women who need them.
Pizarro was inspired to act.
"I thought about the women I know, and I know some good women, and I bet they didn't know about it either," Pizarro said.
She came up with a plan to help.
In 2014, Pizarro hosted the first "Pad Party" in her home. She emailed her female friends and colleagues explaining the issue and asking them to bring boxes of pads and tampons with them. That first year, the gathering resulted in a donation of 10,000 items.
It has only grown since then.
This year's party, at San Jose's Cafe Stritch, attracted dozens of women and resulted in donations of 30,000 items; enough to sustain 200 women for an entire year.
"What I think about is that they have so many other things to worry about," Pizarro said. "Could we not let them worry about this?"