August 4, 2020

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Opinion

Donations of menstrual products flow into Winnipeg Harvest

Winnipeg Harvest's Rosa Martinez, Jason Booth, Lauren Rist and Duncan Stokes show off some of 20 boxes of donated products.

BORIS MINKEVICH/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Harvest's Rosa Martinez, Jason Booth, Lauren Rist and Duncan Stokes show off some of 20 boxes of donated products.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/2/2015 (1984 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In Monday’s Free Press, I had a column about the high costs of being a member of the Cherry Slush Club and how hard that time of the month can be for women living in poverty or experiencing homelessness.

The response to the column was overwhelming — the response to the fourth paragraph, in particular. I reported that in January, Winnipeg Harvest had 6,909 requests for menstrual products. Just 125 of those requests were able to be filled. That means each of those 125 people received about six to eight pads or tampons.

That number resonated with many people who read the column — including Michelle Cattani, an on-air personality at QX 104. "I thought that was shocking. And I personally never thought about it as a donation," she tells me Friday afternoon. She is definitely not alone.

So Cattani and her radio station mobilized and got a menstrual product drive up and running in a matter of hours. The #WinnipegWomenHelpingWomen and #RealMenBuyTampons for Winnipeg Harvest campaign runs until March 8. You can drop off new, unopened packages of pads, pantyliners, tampons and menstrual cups at all five Winnipeg Food Fare locations as well as the Stonewall Pharmacy in Stonewall, Man and London Drugs in St. Vital. QX104 has also set up a GoFundMe page for those who would like to make a monetary donation. So far, it has raised $504.

In addition to agreeing to be a drop point, Food Fare also donated 10 cases of product.

Winnipeg Harvest, meanwhile, has collected 20 banana boxes full of menstrual products since Monday’s column ran. That’s a big improvement over the one box they had.

"We had no idea the response would be so stupendous," says Chris Albi, communications co-ordinator for Winnipeg Harvest. The organization has also received about $200 in monetary donations.

"It’s a good start," she says. The need is ongoing.

Winnipeg Harvest isn’t the only organization in critically short supply of menstrual products. Sage House, Osborne House, Nine Circles Community Health Centre, North Point Douglas Women’s Centre and the West Central Women’s Resource Centre give out menstrual products to those in need on a regular basis and could use a hand replenishing their stocks. They accept donations of product, as well as gift cards and monetary donations.

I’ve spotted a few individual campaigns on Twitter and have heard from at least one reader who was inspired to start collecting at her office. Great idea. Organizing tampon/pad drives at the office or school is a great way to help all of these organizations.

Many readers wrote and called, telling me, "I never thought about this before." (Well, that and "I didn’t know there were so many euphemisms for our monthly friend.") I’m glad so many of you are thinking about it now. Your generosity is inspiring.

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