About a year ago, a close friend was telling me about her daughter’s upcoming volunteer project; she was collecting donations of period products at their community church over the span of two weekends. This was called “A Period Purse Drive,” with the goal of fighting period poverty in her community. I was impressed by the effort, although wondered to myself: “what is period poverty and why don’t I know more about the struggles within my community?”
According to Women Gender Equality Canada, Period Poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, education and/or hygiene facilities. One in five people will experience period poverty, caused by barriers in accessing menstrual products due to lack of money, social norms and attitudes surrounding menstruation. Period poverty disproportionately impacts youth, single mothers, people experiencing homelessness, Indigenous peoples, Black and other racialized communities.
The inability to obtain safe, clean menstrual products can impact the physical health of the person on their period. People who are unable to access the products they need experience disproportionate health problems. Mental health is also impacted, with many people feeling ashamed to advocate for their needs, depressed about their inability to participate in daily activities or even having to miss work. Approximately 17% of Canadians have to choose between period products and groceries.
We can help by finding opportunities to provide the education, awareness and community support necessary to create equality. Organizations such as The Period Purse are so valuable as we act to eliminate period poverty. The Period Purse is a registered charity with a vision “For menstruation to be understood and treated with dignity, and for period products to be free for all.” The Period Purse has created the Mini Drive framework to facilitate donation campaigns in communities outside of the GTA. This is a great opportunity to help to raise awareness in our community and most importantly a straight forward way to get products directly into the hands of the people who need them the most.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said “Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization starts”. With that in mind, starting Friday October 27th through to November 10th we have the opportunity to partner with Crossroads Women’s Shelter (YWCA) and Millbrook Food Share to collect donations of period products.
Donation Bins will be available throughout the community: Cavan Monaghan Community Center (CMCC), The Township Office, Cavan Monaghan Libraries Millbrook & Bruce Johnston Branch and Blank Canvas Art & Hair Studio.
Donations should be unopened hygiene products: Pads, Tampons, Period Cups (new, in original packaging), Period Underwear (new, unworn), Underwear (new, unworn). Individually wrapped pads or tampons are also acceptable. Crossroads is a scent-free facility and as such requests only UNSCENTED products.
Thank you to everyone who is able to donate or is able to share these details with friends or family. We’re so grateful for the support of this community, especially the staff at The Township of Cavan Monaghan and the CCMC, the staff at Cavan Monaghan Libraries and Stacey Knight at Blank Canvas Art & Hair Studio–who have generously offered space for donation bins and have been busy promoting this initiative.
Your contribution will make a positive impact in someone’s life.
By Leslie Bilcox