Providing for Women distributes period products to organizations that serve low-income and homeless women, including Xenia and Fairborn Fish Pantries and area homeless shelters. Jordan estimates that 1 in 4 women in Greene County experience period poverty, based on poverty census data in the region.
“If you can’t buy food, you probably can’t afford to buy pads and tampons or other goods,” she said.
Gail Matson, director of Xenia Fish Food pantry, said her organization goes through 40-50 cases of menstrual products in a month, supplying them to women of all ages. Period products are among other essential hygiene items that rarely get donated and the agency “never has enough to offer everybody.”
“People, when they think of a food pantry, they don’t think of the needs that everybody has,” Matson said. “Food, yes, but other things are lost in the shuffle: toilet paper, toothbrushes, things that food stamps won’t buy.”
Period products are no longer subject to sales tax in Ohio. However, they still cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits, or food stamps, along with many other essential hygiene products.
“Things like soap, deodorant are always in demand, but can’t be bought with SNAP,” Jordan said.
In a national survey, 1 in 5 menstruating teens struggled to afford period products and 4 in 5 either stayed home from school or knew someone who had missed classes because they didn’t have access to period products.
Providing for Women delivers products to Xenia and Fairborn High Schools. The packages are given to school nurses.
“Students can go to the clinic to get anything they need,” Jordan said. “We do give surplus packages to clinics so when the nurse sees someone come back on a regular basis, they say, ‘hey do you need some to take home?’”