Period Poverty

I'm ashamed to say that at 31 years of age and someone that has had periods since 8th grade, I've never really stopped to think about period poverty. I never stopped to think about how lucky I am to have never worried about not having what I needed. Heck, when that day finally came my family had thought ahead and were ready to go with products because that was far from my list of priorities.

4 out of 5 students missed school or know someone that missed school because they didn't have access to menstrual products

Poverty as a whole, yes I have thought much about. Statistically, according to Feeding America, 1 in 6 kids children face hunger here in Maine. I've thought about that 1 in 6 and how their meal at lunch may be the only hot meal they get all day. I think about what they may do during the weekend and am so grateful for the schools that have backpack programs so the kids can bring home food each weekend.

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But even as a woman and being fully aware of how expensive menstrual products are, I hadn't given period poverty much thought.

According to WMTW an astounding 4 out of 5 students missed school or know someone that missed school because they didn't have access to menstrual products and 1 in 5 teens have had difficulty affording products.


New Maine Law

In June of 2021 LD 952, An Act To Limit Liability Regarding Donations of Menstrual Products was signed into law.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a good faith donor of menstrual products that are apparently usable at the time they are donated to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization for free distribution is immune from civil or criminal liability arising from injury or death due to the condition of the menstrual products unless the injury or death is a direct result of the gross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of the donor.

This inspired one menstrual product company to make a big donation.

U By Kotex

Kotex is one of the big players in menstrual products and the U line focuses on breaking negative perceptions around periods and period products. One of the ways they aim to bust the shame and embarrassment of being caught taking a pad or tampon to the restroom is by having bright fun packaging noting that 73% of women hide their products.

U by Kotex via Facebook
U by Kotex via Facebook

In addition to breaking stigmas surrounding periods, they also focus on period poverty. So far they have donated over 30 million products to women in need including high school students in Maine.

WMTW reported that U By Kotex donated 100,000 period products to 10 high schools in southern Maine and the products were distributed by Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services.

Thank you, Maine, for the new law and for bringing a very common and rarely talked about issue to light. And thank you to U By Kotex for such an incredible donation.

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