Period Poverty: Food banks need pads, tampons

August 25, 2020

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Socks. Old t-shirts. Fabric scraps. These are all items that 14% of Canadian women surveyed say they’ve used as alternatives to pads or tampons when faced with the impossible choice between buying a period product or an essential item on their grocery list. It’s a situation known as “period poverty.”   

If you haven’t heard of period poverty, you’re not alone: 78% of Canadians weren’t familiar with it in a survey of Canadian adults conducted earlier this summer. That’s something LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug MartTM is working to change – and are teaming up with U by Kotex brand and Food Banks Canada to do just that.  

With nearly a quarter of Canadian women saying they’ve experienced inadequate access to period products in their lifetime – something that causes devastating effects on their health and wellness – the Shoppers Drug Mart® banner and U By Kotex brand kicked off a buy one/give one initiative last month. For every box of period products purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart stores, U By Kotex brand donated a second box to a local food bank, up to 50,000 boxes. This is on top of the 10,000 boxes of tampons and pads the LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart program donated to Food Banks Canada in August, bringing the total number of women facing period poverty we’ve impacted to 50,000 since 2018. While the donations provide an immediate boost to food banks, the underlying goal is to raise awareness of period poverty and compel Canadians to carry the momentum forward.   

“We want to help end the stigma surrounding periods and encourage Canadians to join the #EndPeriodPovertyCanada movement by spreading awareness for the issue faced by too many Canadian women,” says Lisa Gibbs, Director of Community Investment for the Shoppers Drug Mart banner.

“We’re hopeful that this initiative will not only support those in need, but inspire Canadians to consider donating period products to their local food banks year-round.” 

Tackling period poverty has been a commitment of the LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart program since 2011. Other efforts have included grassroots local initiatives like Tampon Tuesday, and period product dispensers for homeless women in Toronto. And last year, the program worked with property management at the Shoppers Drug Mart central office in Toronto to provide free period products in all women’s washrooms. But the need continues to grow. 

According to Food Banks Canada, over 430,000 women rely on food banks across the country every month. Unfortunately, period products are not often top-of-mind when it comes to donations; not surprising, considering only 26% of Canadians were aware that women rely on their local food bank for personal care products such as tampons and pads. So the next time you give to your local food bank, consider adding a box of pads or tampons to your donation. 

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