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Period Promise campaign seeks menstrual product donations across B.C.

United Way BC partners with Pacific Blue Cross and CUPE Local 1816

Living amidst the rising cost of living sometimes leaves people facing difficult choices created by the financial pressures they face.

One such decision is choosing between buying menstrual products or food.

Access to period products has become more challenging for everyone, especially students, workers, and single parents, due to rising costs from inflation.

Many people struggle to afford both period products and food, and menstrual stigma makes it difficult for people to ask for help.

In response, the United Way BC is working with communities across the province, including the Okanagan, to make it easier for people who menstruate to get through their periods with dignity.

So United Way BC has partnered with Pacific Blue Cross and CUPE Local 186 to initiate the Period Promise campaign from May 1 to 31.

The goals of the campaign are to:

• Organized a Period Promise campaign to collect menstrual products in a given community, school, workplace or union.

• Participate in an organization’s Period Promise campaign.

• Donate online to

United Way British Columbia (United Way BC) – working with communities in BC’s North, Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island, wants to make it easier for people who menstruate to get through their periods with dignity.

“We recognize that access to menstrual products improves health, restores dignity and fosters community engagement. The impact of period poverty on British Columbians motivated our support for this initiative from its inception,” said Rob Chiarello, Pacific Blue Cross People & Culture senior vice-president.

Period poverty is widespread across our country, compounded by rising inflation costs, added Beth Miller president, of CUPE 1816.

“But we have an opportunity to change the landscape here in B.C.,” said Miller.

“The United Way Period Promise campaign not only raises awareness about this issue but also contributes to menstrual equity by providing free products for those in need.”

According to a recent report by UNICEF, 44 per cent of Canadian single parents eat less so their kids can eat.

They are already faced with tough choices and if the household has one or more people who menstruate, expenses to cover their basic needs increase substantially.

The cost of personal care supplies such as tampons and pads has increased by 6.3 per cent, according to the Consumer Price Index released by BC Stats in March.

United Way’s research as part of the Period Promise Final Report revealed:

• More than half of people who menstruate in B.C. have struggled to buy products for themselves.

• A third of people say they don’t know where to buy menstrual products they could afford.

• The cost of menstrual products is so prohibitive, that many people opt to stay home without products when they have their period so they can buy more food for themselves or their families instead.

The 2024 Period Promise campaign aims to collect up to 500,000 menstrual products through financial and product donations.

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Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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