MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC4) – Menstruation can create barriers for women in work, education, and sports, especially for low-income people.
“Being afraid of going to school, of not having enough supplies, not even knowing where to get it,” says Pauline Makoma who has experienced period poverty.
While around 25 million women in the U.S. live in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau, menstrual products are not covered by food stamps.
“People are finally having the courage to say ‘You know what? I can’t leave my house. I can’t go to school. I can’t do things without these products,'” says Katie Bunnell, President of Live Your Dreams Foundation, an organization working to help single mothers.
“They [Utah Food Bank] said this is the biggest request [from the pantries] we have ever had in the history of the Utah Food Bank for any product we have ever tried to place,” says Kristin Andrus, the founder of SisterGoods. “We need this and we need this right now.”
The organization also teamed up with a local restaurant, Thirst, that donated 25 percent of its Thursday evening sales this week to help women and girls receive access to these essential items.
“Period poverty equals food insecurity,” says Andrus. “We have our kids in free lunch lines, we’re doing so much to help our kids, especially the schools and in our pantries. But it’s a silent need. Sadly we’re not talking about it.”