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Menstrual product drive aims to help end ‘period poverty’ 

menstrual products

Period poverty is defined as the inability to afford menstrual products due to lack of access or financial resources.

Products collected during drive will be donated to shelters, food banks, schools and other service providers

–On Friday, Aug. 27, the San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls will hold a countywide menstrual products drive to collect donations for those who lack access due to period poverty. The public is invited to drop off unopened menstrual products – pads, tampons, menstrual cups, liners, or brand new period underwear – in front of the Arroyo Grande library, San Luis Obispo library, Atascadero library and Paso Robles City library anytime between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“The providers we connected with welcomed efforts of the commission to collect menstrual products, confirming with us that the need in our community is ongoing,” said Commissioner Andrea Chmelik. “They also acknowledged that the stigma surrounding menstruation leads to lack of public awareness. We hope that our event will not only help collect the much-needed donations, but also normalizes conversation about menstruation and highlights issues of period poverty.”

Period poverty is defined as the inability to afford menstrual products due to lack of access or financial resources, affecting women, girls and gender-diverse people everywhere. On average, a person who menstruates goes through more than 450 periods in their lifetime. Added up, this equates to 7-10 years that will be spent menstruating, with 11,000 to 15,000 pads, tampons, and panty liners used, which can cost $5,000 – $10,000 over the period of a lifetime.

In the U.S., 25 million women lived in poverty pre-pandemic. Women are 35-percent more likely than men to be poor in the US, with single mothers facing the highest risk. Industry surveys estimate that 1 in 4 women struggle to purchase menstrual supplies because of poverty, and in a national survey of 1,000 menstruating teens, 1 in 5 struggled to afford period products, and 4 in 5 either missed or knew someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products.

The products that will be collected during the drive will be distributed to ECHO shelters in Atascadero and Paso Robles, Atascadero Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, SLO Food Bank, Lumina Alliance, 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, and other service providers throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Learn more about the SLO County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls at www.slowomen.org.

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