Winnipeg women challenge 'period shame,' collect feminine hygiene products for North Point Douglas
They gathered 46 boxes of tampons, 50 boxes of pads and 10 DivaCups for women in the area on Saturday
Two women are helping others access feminine hygiene products in Winnipeg's North Point Douglas, where rooming houses, poverty and low-income families are ubiquitous.
Bethany Zacharias, 27, and Ali Vandale, 30, are co-ordinators of the Moon Sisters Feminine Hygiene Product Drive for the North Point Douglas Women's Centre.
Zacharias said while volunteering, she noticed feminine hygiene products were number one on the centre's donation wish list. She reached out to Vandale and together, they started to plan.
For weeks leading up to the drive, they collected tampons, pads and panty liners, baby formula and toothbrushes. Anything, Zacharias said, that women and families in the area might need.
"These products are expensive, and people take for granted how expensive they are," she said.
According to Vandale, that's not the only thing that makes feminine hygiene products difficult to access.
"In general, people don't like to speak about their periods," she said.
"It's a point of shame."
Donations by the dozen
Saturday's drive, which took place between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., was already a success before it began.
"We are so grateful and humbled by everyone's generosity," Zacharias said, standing among dozens of multicolored boxes.
"It's just been incredible to see the turnout and the amount of positive feedback we've gotten from people; from strangers, from friends, from family. It's been really, really awesome."
Members of the community stopped by for snacks, including City Coun. Ross Eadie, who came to show support.
By the end of the drive, Zacharias said she and Vandale had collected 46 boxes of tampons, 50 boxes of pads, 10 DivaCups and more than 50 other items including diapers, baby formula, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpastes and soaps.
The North Point Douglas Women's Centre is still accepting donations from those who were not able to make it to the drive on Saturday.
They are located at 221 Austin Street North, and their hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays as well as on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Moon Sisters Feminine Hygiene Product Drive for the North Point Douglas Women's Centre is one of many initiatives that show awareness of the need is growing.
In November, three Winnipeg women — with the help of 800 supporters on Facebook — reached out to women struggling on the city's streets by packing purses with feminine hygiene products.
Back in March, Manitobans donated pads and tampons to Winnipeg Harvest, too.
At the time, food bank officials said they received at least 272 kilograms of the products as part of 'Winnipeg Women Helping Women' and 'Real Men Buy Tampons' social media campaigns.