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Feed Nova Scotia initiative provides menstrual products for women, girls

The Christmas season reminds us of the most important gift of all: Helping one another. Food banks see an upsurge of donations during this time of renewed generosity.

When we think of making donations to local food banks, most of us think about donating food. We often forget about the other necessities of life.

For women and girls who have passed puberty, menstrual pads and tampons are a monthly need — and an expensive one that many families can’t afford.

According to a 2018 survey by Plan International Canada, one-third of Canadian women under the age of 25 say they have struggled to afford menstrual products. A 2018 Always Confidence and Puberty Study reported that 1 in 7 girls in Canada have either left school early or missed school entirely because they don’t have what they need to manage their periods.

With its Dignity.Period. campaign, Feed Nova Scotia is inviting people across the province to host “pad parties” and collect donations of period products to distribute to Feed Nova Scotia’s 145 member food banks, meal programs and shelters.

So how do “pad parties” work? People invite friends, neighbours and co-workers to get together and ask them to bring tampons and pads, which will then be donated to a local food bank.

Pat deMolitor, who chairs the Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank’s board of directors, plans to host a pad party in January after the holiday festivities have wound down. She wants to do what she can to shine a light on this under-supported need.

“I can’t imagine what families do when they have more than one female child in the family,” deMolitor says. “Sometimes you can pick and choose what you can put money toward. But this is not something you can do without. It’s not talked about, but it’s important. It has to do with a woman’s self-esteem.”

When it comes to food bank donations, deMolitor says menstrual products are often forgotten.

“We’re quick to think about food. We’re less quick to think about the other necessities of life, like feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant,” says deMolitor. “But people need those things, too.”

The Dignity.Period. campaign runs through Dec. 15, but people can host a pad party anytime. Food banks welcome donations of menstrual products year-round.

For more information, visit Feed Nova Scotia at www.feednovascotia.ca/blog/dignity-period, e-mail dignityperiodcampaign@gmail.com, or visit their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DignityPeriodCampaign).

Food banks here on the South Shore are always looking for volunteers:

  • Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank: Open Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.. Located at 21 Anne St. in Shelburne. (902) 875-3823.
  • Queens County Food Bank: Open Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located at 108 College St. in Liverpool. (902) 354-4894.
  • New Germany Area Food Bank: Open Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Located at 4960 Hwy. 10 in New Germany. (902) 644-3336.
  • Mahone Bay Area Food Bank Association: Open 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Located at 45 School St. in Mahone Bay. (902) 624-0890.
  • Lunenburg Interchurch Food Bank: Open Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Located at 283 Lincoln St. in Lunenburg. (902) 521-1078.
  • Lighthouse Food Bank Society: Open Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Located at 101 Valley Rd. in Chester. (902) 275-5304.
  • Bridgewater Interchurch Food Bank: Open Tuesdays and Fridays 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Located at 150 Churchill St. in Bridgewater. (902) 543-1915.
  • Yarmouth Food Bank: Open Tuesdays to 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Located at 2 Herbert St. in Yarmouth. (902) 742-0918.

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