December Menstrual Product Drive: Taking a Stand Against Period Poverty
Posted by Kassidy Finch
Whole Family Health is proud to support No Period Without, a local non-profit organization founded in 2017 that advocates to end period poverty in Edmonton.
We are partnering with No Period Without for the month of December, as their drop-off location for menstrual product donations.
Throughout the month of December, we are welcoming donations of the following unused and unopened products:
- Maxi Pads
- Panty liners
- Menstrual treatment products
Any kind, size or brand appreciated
Donations will be collected by No Period Without and distributed to other Edmonton charitable organizations in need.
** For every menstrual product donation, your name can be entered into a free draw for a Whole Family Health Gift Certificate redeemable for one acupuncture session.
What is Period Poverty
There is a negative stigma when having discussions surrounding periods.
Have you ever felt self-conscious of your period, or fear it leaking through? Have you grown up hearing that periods are gross? Have you felt embarrassed when you asked someone for supplies because it came up unexpectedly?
Throughout history, misinformation has spread regarding periods. While hygiene may be part of these concerns, stigma can cause people to feel ashamed for experiencing this natural bodily process.
Stigma and misinformation can also lead to serious threat, especially to financially or emotionally vulnerable individuals. Imagine not having access to a supply of menstrual products – this is period poverty.
Every day there are people who have no choice but to resort to using makeshift pads and tampons or prolonging their use of period products – all leading to risk of infection that can even be fatal.
According to a 2018 Plan Canada study, an alarming 63% of menstruating people felt the need to conceal their menstrual products in public. the same survey also revealed that over half of menstruators (55%) have missed work, school, or have declined social activities due to their period.
It’s time to break this stigma, half the population endures monthly periods, and we need to spread awareness to educate, ease anxieties, and take steps to end period poverty.
Menstrual products are a necessity
The price of menstrual products is high and unattainable for many. In 2019, United Way Period Promise estimated the annual cost per person for menstrual products is $70, the cost increasing with decreased accessibility.
I believe menstrual products are a necessity, not a consumer good and need to be equally accessible, regardless of income. No one should be in a position where they must compromise their health on a monthly basis.
Although Homeward Trust (a non-profit organization committed to ending homelessness in Edmonton), noted a steady decrease in homelessness since 2007, there has been a steep increase since the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase from the estimated ~1,500 homeless people in April of 2019 to ~2,800 in 2021 – that’s an increase of 86%.
Homeward Trust estimates that approximately 44% of this current homeless population potentially experiences menstruation. There are over a thousand impoverished menstruating people in our city that likely have unmet monthly sanitary needs.
As we move into the cold of winter, homeless shelters expect a busy season. A 2021 United Way Period Promise research study has shown that 95% of community organizations are asked if they provide free menstrual products.
The shelters need resources, and there is a particular need for an often-overlooked item: menstrual products.
Progress in the community
Despite the increase in homelessness in our city, city administration has taken several steps over the years to reduce period poverty. Some of these actions include:
- The Alberta government has declared a Menstrual Hygiene Day, and provides $260,000 to the United Way to partner on a province-wide Period Promise campaign, distributing free menstrual hygiene products in schools across the province.
- On June 16th of this year, the City of Edmonton has announced that it in honour of a No Period Without campaign, the city will provide free menstrual products at all city-operated facilities.
- The Edmonton Public School Board announced in April that period products would be made available for free in Edmonton Public schools.
How can you support the Period Poverty movement?
Please stop by the clinic with your menstrual product donations, which will be collected by No Period Without and distributed to other Edmonton charitable organizations in need.
For every menstrual donation, your name will be entered into a free draw for a Whole Family Health Gift Certificate redeemable for one acupuncture session.
We are grateful for your support!