Period products soon in reach for all

Free tampons a boon for those in need

An array of period products set outside The Hub as part of Langara's De-stress Fest. Photo Lauren Gargiulo
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By Lauren Gargiulo

The province is supporting a Period Promise campaign and requiring all public buildings, such as Langara College, to provide free menstrual products after passing a resolution this past weekend at the NDP convention.

“The cost and availability of menstrual products is a real concern for people experiencing poverty,” Parliamentary Secretary Mable Elmore said. “Our government is looking at ways to make life better and more affordable for all British Columbians. Tackling period poverty is one way we are trying to make a difference in ensuring no one is left behind.”

Free products appreciated in period emergencies

Currently, Langara has menstrual vending machines that cost 25 cents per tampon. Although the women’s bathrooms have these machines, they aren’t always convenient.

“There’s so many times where I’ll be going to the bathroom and it’ll just come and I won’t have anything on me,” Tiffany McKechine, a third-year Langara student said. “It’s definitely frustrating. Even with the 25 cent ones, sometimes I don’t have my wallet on me. It’s just an extra level of panic.”

Options for ‘vagina-bearing people’ in need

The Office for Student Engagement (The Hub), is offering products including tampons and pads that students can have for free as part of a customizable “wellness kit”.

Students who are low-income and are food insecure can access The Langara Community Cupboard. There they can ask for menstrual supplies to be a part of their week’s worth of food package.

The Hub’s department assistant Jennifer Riley said that menstrual products should be accessible to “all vagina-bearing people.”

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House is one of the 12 organizations in the Lower Mainland that was given money from this grant.

Before Kiwassa was given the grant, they did have a free tampon dispenser set up, but the difference between a dispenser that dispenses one tampon at a time and the option to get a month’s supply at a time is huge for people who can’t afford menstrual products.

“[The grant] is a huge help and they [menstrual products] are expensive products,” said Andrea Thompson, director of operations at Kiwassa.

“It can really help with promoting dignity. We have some folks who are living on or near the street who are accessing programs here, and these things are expensive,” Thompson said.

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