Unopened boxes of tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products were stacked high in a BC Transit bus parked outside the Hillside Centre on Saturday.
United Way Greater Victoria’s annual Period Promise: Fill the Bus campaign took place outside the mall on March 7. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the team was outside the mall collecting donations. For the third year in a row, donors of all ages filtered through the city bus to drop off menstrual and incontinence products to help fight period poverty in the region.
WATCH: United Way Greater Victoria project and content manager Jennifer Young says Period Promise is not just about filling a bus with menstrual products — it’s an advocacy movement to make the products more accessible to all. pic.twitter.com/EnHRcKlGVg
— Devon Bidal (@devonscarlett) March 8, 2020
Menstrual and incontinence products are “incredibly expensive,” said project and content manager Jennifer Young. She added that for people living in poverty or experiencing homelessness, these necessary hygiene products can be inaccessible.
According to studies conducted by Proctor and Gamble and the Period Stigma Report in 2018, nearly one in seven Canadian girls miss school due to a lack of period protection, while nearly one in four Canadian women have struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their children.
“No one should have to decide between feeding themselves and getting basic hygiene products,” Young said.
In 2019, the group filled a bus with 66,000 individual items and this year, they’re hoping to collect 100,000. All of the donated products will be distributed to United Way funded agencies such as the Victoria Transition House, the Victoria Cool Aid Society and programs that help people in need, Young explained.
“The other important piece about this Period Promise is that it’s an advocacy movement as well so we’re trying to make the supply of menstrual products as common as toilet paper,” she said.
Young pointed out that the City of Victoria, the B.C. government and local schools have made the “period promise” and are striving to make menstrual products available for free in their facilities.
Anyone still interested in donating after the event can visit the United Way Greater Victoria website for more information.