Period poverty is defined as the struggle those who have a menstrual cycle face while trying to afford menstrual products. Despite not being able to control a menstrual cycle, those who have one are still left to purchase products that some cannot afford. I believe that menstrual products should be an approved item to purchase using government subsidies or covered through medical insurance. To help alleviate this problem for our local community, I have started a school club called “That’s on Period Project.”
That’s on Period Project’s goals are to raise awareness about the stigmas surrounding menstruation, to raise money to purchase period products and to organize period product drives. We aim to partner with local organizations who support those in need, and to provide donations of the menstruation products for those in need.
Recently, That’s on Period organized a drive where Mount Madonna School students, parents, faculty and staff donated about 110 packages containing period products. The chosen recipients of this drive are the Watsonville-run Center for Farmworker Families’ Oaxacan Community Shed, a non-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and support for farmworker families, and Gilroy’s Community Solutions, which provides services for families and individuals of all ages who are facing times of crisis, ranging from mental health and substance use to domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
The Center for Farmworker Families’ Oaxacan Community Shed was chosen because of the large number of the migrant families living in Watsonville who are in desperate need of assistance to meet essential daily needs like personal hygiene products, including period products. Some of the families utilizing this organization’s resources must choose between feeding their children or purchasing items like tampons and pads. For these families accessing period products is a luxury instead of a basic human need that should be fulfilled.
One of the reasons Community Solutions was selected is because they serve survivors of domestic violence who flee their homes without personal belongings like clothing and toiletries. Providing period products to these families and individuals is one way we can ensure all of their basic needs are met while they receive additional services to keep them safe from violence.
I am inspired by the Mount Madonna School sixth grade to 12th grade students, their families and faculty and staff who donated the products to help their local community members surrounding an issue that is somewhat taboo to speak about. It was encouraging to see my peers of all genders understand the very real predicament those with periods face when deciding to purchase food or pay an electric bill over obtaining period products that would allow them to experience menstruation in a more dignified and comfortable way.
Access to menstrual products gives those who have experienced menstrual cycles the ability to fully participate in society with confidence and without the fear of embarrassing bleed through—not to mention compromising their health due to the increased risk of urogenital infections from using inadequate period products.
Sophia Manzur is a junior at Mount Madonna School. To donate menstruation products or funds to purchase menstruation products to the That’s on Period Project, contact Sophia at [email protected] or on Instagram at instagram.com/thatsonperiodproject.