Coronavirus has made life for those already struggling financially even harder.
It took an intervention by footballer Marcus Rashford to get free school meals to children who were going hungry with schools closed.
Lockdown has also deepened the levels of period poverty experienced by women and girls all over the UK.
According to the period poverty charity, Bloody Good Period, there’s been a 5.5 fold increase in the volume of period products being distributed during lockdown.
The charity told Stylist that it’s ‘now distributed just under 33,000 packs of period products since the start of lockdown: that’s a 5.5 fold increase in the volume of supplies distributed in “normal” times’.
Before Covid-19, 10% of women in the UK couldn’t afford period products and another 15% found themselves having to use less suitable products because they were more affordable. Lockdown has exacerbated the problem with more people having to rely on sanitary products.
The Department of Education launched a scheme back in January to give out free period products in schools. However, with so many schools being closed or inaccessible to non-key worker families, many girls have had their main source of help cut off. The government claims that the scheme is still running and that girls can have products distributed to them by their school or college whether they’re learning on site or at home.
But the fact remains that many people are having to make difficult choices at the moment. Is a mum who’s struggling going to buy a pack of nappies for her baby or a box of tampons for herself?
Back in March, the Food Foundation found that more than 1.5 million adults in Britain couldn’t obtain enough food, with 53% of NHS workers reporting that they were worried about getting food. If people are having to choose whether they can afford to eat three meals a day, the chances are that period products will come pretty low down the list of priorities – despite how fundamental they are to our existence and health.
How to help
Sponsor a period
A really easy way to help other people get access to products is to donate to the Bloody Good Project.
There are three suggested donations, starting at £8.45 to support a light flow (1 x pack of day pads, 1 x pack of night pads), going up to £17.01 for a heavy flow (incl. more day pads and pantyliners). Or, you can choose your own donation. Either do it as a one-off or sign up to sponsor a period every month. Read more about it here.
Buy from brands who give back
Brands like Hey Girls not only create brilliant period products, but all their profits from their Buy One Give One scheme go directly towards helping girls and women in need in the UK. Choose from menstrual cups, period pants, reusable pads, tampons, and pantyliners.
Donate period products
Freedom4Girls is a period poverty charity in West Yorkshire which is gladly accepting products from the public, business and product providers. It’s got a number of donation stations set up around Leeds and other areas in the region. You can also donate if you’re not based in West Yorkshire – just contact them here and they’ll tell you how to help.
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