Donations help local women access tampons during shortage

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

National supply chain shortages have come for menstrual products, and some stores and women’s shelters are struggling to keep them on the shelves.

Tampons, in particular, have been increasingly difficult to come by, according to a Bloomberg News report this month. Manufacturers for major brands of tampons have cited supply chain issues and the lack of the raw materials that are menstrual products’ main ingredients: plastic and cotton. Tampons that make it to the shelves are getting more expensive, with their price increasing 9.8% in the last year, according to NielsenIQ.

Proctor & Gamble Co., which makes Always and Tampax products, and Edgewell Personal Care Co., which makes Playtex products, both said their manufacturing facilities have increased production to catch up with the increase in demand for period products, according to Bloomberg.

Days for Girls, a non-profit that supplies girls in need with menstrual products, estimated that 500 million people worldwide — 25% of menstruators — do not have access to or cannot afford menstrual products. Women in Dayton experiencing such “period poverty” or crisis situations have also felt the effects of the tampon shortage.

Femme Aid Collaborative, a Dayton nonprofit that provides community organizations with menstrual products, said these types of shortages disproportionally affect those struggling financially. Femme Aid prepares for supply chain shortages and works with an exclusive manufacturer to meet the demands of the organizations they provide for, according to executive director April Mescher.

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“Our goal is to provide access to menstrual hygiene products locally to those in need monthly for worry-free cycles,” Mescher said. “The only way Femme Aid Collaborative can continue the important work we do is through donations.”

YWCA Dayton typically keeps a six-month supply of menstrual products for Hope’s Closet, an in-house thrift store for residents in YWCA’s permanent supportive housing and its emergency domestic violence shelter. The staff noticed that their stock had gone down to about a two-month supply and they were receiving fewer donations for those products this month, said spokeswoman Kaitlin Schroeder.

“As a women’s organization, we are always going to be seeking those donations, and we’re going to notice very quickly if there is some type of supply issue,” Schroeder said.

As the only domestic violence shelter in Montgomery and Preble counties, the YWCA serves close to 100 women and children each day across all of its programs. Schroeder said the YWCA relies on the community to continue to provide for those in need. The organization took to social media to share about the slowing donations and low supply of period products on June 16. Donations over the next several days increased and helped restock the supply.

“Thankfully we have a very supportive community and received some more products,” Schroeder said. “We just have a lot of very dedicated members of the community on our social media. I feel like when we put out a call, the community answers and that is helpful.”

Donations can be made to YWCA online at ywcadayton.org or at their central building at 141 W. Third St. in Dayton. Donations can be made to Femme Aid online at FemmeAid.com or at drop-off locations listed on their website.

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