Did you know that a lack of access to menstrual health products can cause students with periods to miss or be late to class, or feel anxious about period care? Menstrual products are expensive in the U.S., which makes it difficult for people, especially teens, to afford period products. Instead, they may rely on what is supplied by school districts and stored within a school clinic or school nurse’s office.
The Monthlies Project is a new initiative in the Fox Valley aimed at providing menstrual health products to school-aged students and bringing awareness to the issue of period poverty and the educational inequity it creates. The Monthlies Fund within the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region will be a resource to schools and community programs in our area, and products are sourced through a number of local community partners.
The initiative was formed in the spirit of collaboration between many community members who represent Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, the Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley, Fox Communities Credit Union, The Boldt Company, Coalesce Marketing and Design, and ThedaCare.
“The Monthlies Project is an example of the real change that takes place when a community bands together to solve an issue,” says Patti Habeck, president and CEO of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. “It has taken the collective efforts of passionate and caring individuals to launch this project and finally address period poverty in our schools.”
By definition, period poverty is when someone experiences inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and education.
According to the “State of the Period: The Widespread Impact of Period Poverty on US Students” report, 84% of young menstruators in school have either personally, or know someone, who missed class due to a lack of access to health products. Additionally, 66% of teens report that they do not want to be at school during their period because of shame and self-consciousness.
“Period products are a basic necessity, and far too many menstruators are left with limited options for hygiene products,” says Ellie Mertes, a senior at Neenah High School. “Something as simple as a pad can allow students to direct their focus and energy into their school day rather than their period troubles.”
The Monthlies Project is 100% supported by donations and has set up a fund through the Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley so the initiative can distribute period products to local schools and community programs.
“Our mission – to promote the advancement of women and girls – can only happen when essentials like period products are available to all who need them, regardless of their economic circumstances,” says Julie Keller, executive director of Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region. “Also raising awareness of the issues and challenges facing women and girls, like period poverty, is core to our work. We are excited to play a role in meeting this need for our community. We know the greatest impact can be had when we all come together.”
The Monthlies Project has set a goal of raising $100,000, which will supply approximately 625 girls with menstrual products for an entire year. These costs are based on an estimated $13.25 per month, over the course of 12 months.
“Kimberly-Clark North America and its U by Kotex® Brand are honored to be the lead sponsor of The Monthlies Project,” says Mindy Langelin, senior brand manager for U by Kotex®. “U by Kotex® is committed to helping end period poverty and firmly believes that a period should never get in the way of a woman’s progress. We are proud to support the coalition and the important work they are doing for students right here in our community.”
The Monthlies Project is planning its inaugural fundraiser for Thursday, October 6, 2022 in Appleton. More details to come.
To learn more about the initiative, click here. To donate to the fund, you can visit our Give Online page and select The Monthlies Project from the dropdown menu to designate your gift.
The Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation and a separate 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Women’s Fund invests in the needs of women and girls through grants, advocacy and education. Since 1994, the Women’s Fund has awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to innovative programs that improve women’s and girls’ physical and mental health, ensure their economic security, promote their safety and enhance their lives. For more information, click here.