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Addressing period poverty in Leon County

Posted at 1:50 PM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 13:50:21-04

21% of women in Leon County live at or below the poverty level. This means they may not be able to afford menstrual products. But a new county program and some community partners are stepping up to help.

The Board of County Commissioners dedicated $25,000 to install menstrual product dispensers in restrooms at county facilities. Now, women can get free pads or tampons at places like the County Courthouse, libraries, and parks.

The county decided to start the program after learning 1/3 of low-income women in the U.S. miss school or work because they don't have access to period products.

Maggie Theroit said this is one solution locally."What that looks like locally is providing access and affordability to menstrual products such as pads and tampons," said Theroit.

According to Bloomberg, menstrual products have seen almost 10% price increase since the pandemic.

Mary Deschler is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Oasis Center for Women and Girls. She said this new program will help low-income women have access to hygiene products they need.
"Its going to help bridge the gap, because someone shouldn't have to decide between buying food and buying tampons or pads for their children and unfortunately that is the case for a lot of households in Leon county," said Deschler.

They recently received a grant of over $17,000 to purchase reusable period underwear for women and girls in the community. They still have some to give away.

Amaya Waymon is the founder of the Girl Flo. It's an initiative she started to make sure girls in school have access to menstrual products. She's proud of the difference her initiative has already made.
"A lot of schools have dispensers now and we're continuing to collect donations to so that more donations can be in schools as well as just getting donations so that products could be available as well for girls that may need more."

Waymon is excited to hear idea is expanding outside of the school system."Realize that this is a difference that needs to be made and realize that period poverty is important and menstrual equity is something that Tallahassee is experiencing," said Waymon.

The Girl Flo is having its second annual feminine hygiene product donation drive September 11.