Period poverty. I am ashamed to write I didn’t even realize that was a thing. I have never lacked for food, shelter, clothing or menstrual products. I have had a blessed life and taken for granted the fact that I would always be able to grab a box of tampons when needed. Back in my “good old school days” I remember learning and talking about poverty. In my naive, sheltered life I could somewhat comprehend lack of food, shelter or clothing, but not being able to get supplies for a period was never mentioned or thought about.
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, handwashing facilities and or waste management. HeartFlet is helping to fight period poverty by donating 420 menstruation cups to the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. This Diaper Bank will distribute the cups to agencies in Southern Arizona to provide in conjunction with other social services.
"We are so excited that we can provide the option to access menstrual cups and the appropriate education for using them to our clients and agencies. For someone who is experiencing unstable housing, or for someone choosing if they should spend their money on food and diapers or period products, eliminating the monthly cost of disposable products can make a real difference. Access to these reusable products and education about safely using them helps keep families safe and healthy. We are so thankful to HeartFelt for helping us empower menstruators in our community," said Hannah Anolik, outreach coordinator of Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.
According to a United for ALICE report, in 2018, 51 million households in the US struggle to pay for basic necessities. Now here’s the crazy thing, menstrual care products are classified as a LUXURY item in more than half of the states in the US! This means that menstrual care is not a basic necessity it’s a luxury. I have to interject right here that nothing about my period has ever felt luxurious. Here is what google came up with then I searched for luxury items: jewelry, wine, luggage, a yacht.
Programs like the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program and Women, Infants, and Children program do not cover period products because they are considered a luxury. So, while shopping for pillows to go on your yacht or a new diamond bracelet, you’re obviously going to throw in some tampons just so you can feel even more luxurious.
On the flip side, there are 25 million women and girls living in poverty. One in four struggles to afford period supplies and one in five report missing school or work due to lack of menstruation products. The average woman spends seven years of her life, that’s 2535 days, menstruating. Imagine not being able to go to work or school just because “aunt flow” is visiting. Imagine stretching out your period products longer then recommended, re-using them or having nothing to use at all.
Activist Jennifer Weiss- Wolf wrote in her book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equality, “reusing products or using tampons and pads for too long – or not using them at all – leads to higher rates of infection and other conditions for which patients are likely to require medical intervention.”
By donating 450 menstrual cups, HeartFelt is helping solve period poverty long term. Instead of having to buy a box of tampons every single month, a woman can use just one menstrual cup for up to five years. Also, a tampon only provides period help for four hours whereas a menstrual cup gives 12 hours of protection. That’s an entire work or school day not missed. The cup is BPA free and made of 100 percent medical grade silicone making is very safe to use.
“We’re so happy to have the opportunity to partner with the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona and love how active they are in the community. We look forward to working together for a long time!” Joslyn – HeartFelt Owner
The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona is a member of the Alliance for Period Supplies. Through generous donations the Diaper Bank provides period supplies though agencies that support women in continuing education and job training, as well as homeless youth and refugee support. HeartFelt is happy to support all the good the Diaper Bank is doing.