A mountain range of menstrual products was on display at United Way’s head office March 20, the culmination of United Way’s 2nd annual Tampon Tuesday campaign.
After tallying each tampon, disposable pad, reusable pad, menstrual cup and pair of menstrual underwear, the total amount of individual products donated surpasses 220,000, with many more still rolling in. This year’s remarkable haul is almost 6 times what was gathered in the inaugural campaign in 2017, an already impressive showing of community love.
Periods might be tough to talk about sometimes, but they are just a fact of life. If you’re vulnerable or living in poverty, access to menstrual products can be challenging.
Tampon Tuesday is a nation-wide initiative to raise awareness of the barriers vulnerable people face in accessing menstrual products. The campaign kicked off March 6, encouraging people to donate hygiene products in their workplaces and communities.
These donations will ensure fewer local women will have to choose between groceries and basic hygiene supplies. They will be used by girls who might otherwise miss school or shoplift because they don’t know where to turn. Thanks to our generous supporters, donors and campaign champions, many more vulnerable people in need of menstruation products will get the dignity they deserve, with greater access to the supplies they need.
“At United Way we see this as an act of local love,” said Brenda Aynsley, Vice President of Resource Development at United Way of the Lower Mainland.
“Local love is all about working together to address local problems, including invisible issues like this one. The response to this year’s campaign was tremendous.”
The local campaign was organized by United Way and championed by our union partners, with inspiring leadership shown by longtime partners the Canadian Labour Congress, the Labour District Councils, the BCGEU and the Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA). Many union locals and longtime United Way workplace supporters also participated, including BCAA, the City of Vancouver, Clark Wilson, HSBC and Cummins.
“As health care workers we see vulnerability every day,” said Val Avery, President of the HSA, speaking at the campaign wrap event.
“This campaign gave us an opportunity to be a part of the solution.”
The HSA alone raised over 75,000 individual menstrual products, an incredible contribution to the grand total. This year Shoppers Drug Mart stores across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley joined the menstrual movement, with an employee-driven campaign that generated close to 22,500 individual menstrual products donated. Lunapads again donated resusable products in the form of menstrual underwear, and shone a light on the need for sustainable and versatile options for trans communities. And support from community champions like the Period Posse helped mobilize menstrual advocates everywhere around the cause.
Over the coming weeks, donated hygiene products will be distributed to local community agencies serving women, girls and people and need.
The beginning of this unique “menstrual mail” kicked off with a delivery to the YWCA on March 22.
United Way staff deliver donated menstrual products to the YWCA on March 22. L-R: Neal Adolph, United Way; Kathy Lilyholm, YWCA; Jody Olsson, United Way; Grace Tait, YWCA; Pamela Nesbitt, YWCA.
“I hand out these products to women every single day,” said Pamela Nesbitt of the YWCA. “They are enormously appreciative, especially those women in the community who are completely without resources.”
In addition to gathering a mountain of much-needed menstrual products, many supporters remarked on the campaign’s successes in helping to shake period stigma, an important step in ensuring vulnerable folks have dignified access to hygiene products.
“I think for many, this was an invisible need,” said Val Avery of HSA.
Brenda Aynsley of United Way agreed, adding: “Now look how far we’ve come!”
Click here for photos from the campaign wrap party March 20