United Way’s Period Promise broadens the impact of Local Love Food Hubs

May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day devoted to breaking taboos about menstruation and raising awareness about good menstrual hygiene. United Way’s Period Promise campaign is proud to participate in the global movement to take action and provide product.

Periods don’t pause for pandemics

This year, Menstrual Hygiene Day is happening during a global pandemic that is having a serious impact on the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. The Period Promise campaign has been quick to respond by getting menstrual products out to United Way’s Local Love Food Hubs.

Always and Tampax are helping United Way’s Period Promise Campaign get product to vulnerable people by donating product to support our Local Love Food Hubs.

“The impacts of limited access to menstrual products in our community are substantial, from missing work or school, to staying at home and not accessing necessary services or supports, to immense shame and negative physical and mental health impacts. All of this is heightened during this pandemic,” says Nikki Hill, co-chair of the Period Promise campaign.

Unemployment is on the rise across B.C., and increasingly people in our community need help to get by. For many of our neighbours that includes picking up prescriptions, or getting food into our cupboards. For some, they may need help getting their hands on tampons, pads, and other menstrual products.

United Way is making sure our neighbours have more of the support they need by setting up Local Love Food Hubs. Our Period Promise campaign, presented by Pacific Blue Cross, is stocking these food hubs with menstrual products to support the vulnerable people that they serve. With the help of our donors and volunteers, and generous donation of menstrual products from Always and Tampax, the food hubs will be receiving free supplies to give out on a weekly basis.

Food insecurity and period poverty closely linked

“The pandemic is hitting certain groups harder than others,” says Sussanne Skidmore, co-chair of United Way’s Period Promise campaign and Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. “Women, girls, trans and non-binary people are all more likely to have lost their job in the last couple months. They might need more help in finding things like food and menstrual supplies. Whenever food insecurity is on the rise, so is period poverty.”

Over the past few months, hundreds of thousands of women have become unemployed, and students across the province lost access to free tampons and pads in washrooms when in-class instruction was suspended to curb the spread of COVID-19. For many people in our communities, a reduced income and closures of public spaces make securing menstrual products much more difficult.

Dependence on food banks and other community organizations often includes relying on them for menstrual products. That’s why including tampons, pads, and other supplies into our Local Love Food Hubs is so important. These hubs provide food, prepared meals, household goods like hand sanitizer and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and other essential goods, including menstrual products, so that we can live with the dignity and support that we all deserve.

“The COVID-19 crisis has put an extra strain on vulnerable people, who were already struggling to obtain the menstrual products they need—never mind worrying about how to put food on the table,” says Rob Chiarello, SVP, People and Culture at Pacific Blue Cross, the Presenting Sponsor of the Period Promise campaign. “The Local Love Food Hubs are an excellent way of ensuring they get both, and it’s heartening to see that a pandemic hasn’t stopped the United Way from continuing their work to eradicate period poverty.”

Help is urgently needed

Two donors to United Way’s Period Promise campaign helping out at the Celebration Event in April 2019. We look forward to hosting another celebration when we can.[/caption]

United Way is committed to getting tampons and pads into the hands of people who need them with our Local Love Food Hubs and our Period Promise campaign, but we can’t do this important work without the support of donors.

Please consider making a donation to our Local Love Food Hubs so that we can ensure more people have access to food and other essential products, including tampons and pads. If you’re interested in becoming involved in our long-term efforts to address period poverty, visit our Period Promise website or contact us at PeriodPromise@uwlm.ca.

Your help is urgently needed. Periods don’t pause for pandemics, but people who menstruate are struggling more than ever to find the product they need and live with the dignity that they deserve. By joining United Way and our Period Promise campaign, you can be a part of the solution.

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