Period poverty can impact anyone. Often the most affected will not want to come forward and ask for help - they may already feel helpless!
Let’s start with some statistics. A researcher exploring ‘Welsh food bank responses to period poverty’ received 28 responses to her survey from food bank representatives. The report on this research states that “all 28 respondents reported that they supply feminine hygiene products to their customers and that having an awareness of period poverty was the main reason for the supply of these items. It was reported that staff at a number of sites will directly ask customers if they have a requirement for feminine hygiene products and offer them when necessary. Out of the 28 respondents, 22 reported that they encounter people requesting products on behalf of their partners or other family members.”
There are simple steps we can all take to help to ease their silent struggle.
You can work with food banks, such as the Trussell Trust, providing them with period products for their service users. Topping up their stocks ensures that fewer people have to go without. Whilst you may want to regularly organise food bank collections, there are even simpler ways to help...
Most supermarkets now have donation bins. This means you literally don’t have to go out of your way AT ALL, and yet can help fight period poverty. It really is as simple as adding period products to your shopping list, popping them in your trolley, paying for them, and then leaving them in the donation bin on your way out.
Boots UK have partnered with The Hygiene Bank. Working alongside this trailblazing charity, Boots have installed donation points in over 245 of their stores, all of which can be found by the side of the tills.
Any help you can provide will really make a difference. Hear first hand from a food bank project manager who was quoted in a period poverty article by the Guardian saying -
“It’s quite something when you give somebody a box of tampons and they break down in tears. This is the hidden side of poverty : struggling to feed your kids, heat your home, but also keep yourself clean. I remember one woman said: ‘It’s not the hunger that gets us, it’s the lack of basic hygiene.”
Period poverty for those in financial hardships has become even more prevalent during the pandemic. The Trussell Trust reported a soaring “81% increase for emergency food parcels from food banks in its network during the latter weeks of March 2020, compared to the same period in 2019”
If we have the privilege of easy access to period products, we often forget those who struggle when it comes to purchasing basic essentials. Please think about ways you can help - whether it’s donating to a food bank, in a supermarket or a Boots store! Let us know what you get up to by tagging us on Instagram @theperiodtalks