ITHACA, N.Y. –– Local non-profit organizations Finger Lakes Girls Pint Out and the MOMS club of Ithaca are collecting feminine hygiene products, to be donated to women in need.

The six-week drive culminates in a, ‘Period Packing Party’ that will take place on Nov. 21, to bag the donations into packages containing one-month worth of supplies. The event will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Liquid State Brewing Company, 620 West Green Street, Ithaca.

The women organizing the event are hoping to combat what is know as ‘menstrual inequity’ with their efforts.

“When you consider that the average woman will have her period 450 times and use 10 to 15 thousand tampons or pads, you can imagine the financial strain on someone who is already vulnerable,” said Finger Lakes GPO Chapter Head, and creator of the event, Kelly Sauve. “Statistics show girls and women all over America, especially those from low-income households, are missing school or work due to inadequate hygiene products.”

This is the second event of its kind –– Finger Lakes GPO’s first event earlier this year brought in enough products to make nearly 300 packages.

“Our first event in February was a wild success and we look forward to improving and adding additional components as we grow,” said Suave. “(We) would love to make it a semi-annual event at the minimum and are in discussions about how we can grow our efforts to be an on-going resource versus these one-off parties.”

Suave is also a member of the MOMS Club of Ithaca, and approached the group to help. Cécile Baert, President of MOMS Club of Ithaca, was happy to help.

“The goal is to help women in the community reach menstrual equity. Thinking some women can’t go to work or some girls stop going to school because they don’t have access to those basic hygiene products is really bothering,” Baert said. “We’re moms yes, but first of all we’re women.”

The MOMS Club is also providing a little extra for the women that receive one of the bags.

“We’ve been providing motivational cards,” Baert said. “It’s a piece of paper where people who will attend the party can write a couple of words to send motivation and love to the women.”

The last period packing party benefited REACH Medical, Ithaca Free Clinic and the Rescue Mission. This time, the products donated will go to Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services.

“It’s important for CARS to have these products because some of our clients are not working so they can focus on their treatment, may have just started work and have other financial needs, but still have to figure a way to purchase feminine hygiene products within what might be a limited budget” said Erica Cotraccia, clinical operations manager at CARS. “So having these products for our clients will be at least one more way that we can help clients not have to worry about essential needs that they may not be able to provide for themselves or if they can, can be a burden.”

In addition to the ladies from Finger Lakes GPO and the MOMS Club, there will also be medical professionals from Cayuga Medical Associates at the event answering period health-related questions.

“Menstrual health is an important part of women’s health and period problems are often a reflection of other health issues.  We need to bring periods out of the closet and reduce the shame and stigma associated with them, so that we can celebrate women’s lived experience and help women when they have problematic periods,” said Lori Davis, a nurse practitioner who specializes in sexual medicine, menopause & pelvic pain as part of Women’s Health of CMA. “Events like this do that in such a great way by collecting donations for women in need, providing education, and building community.”

Anyone interested can bring donations of tampons, pads, liners and feminine wipes to donation bins  at Mama Goose, Jillian’s Drawers, The Watershed and Ten Forward Café. If none of those work, there is also an Amazon Wish List: http://bit.ly/PeriodSupplies.

Donations will also be accepted at the party on Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Everything must be individually wrapped. You’ll get a raffle ticket to win some great prizes (must be present to win.) The raffle will begin around 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Anique via Flickr. 

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com