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WRTV: Expanding Access To Feminine Hygiene Products A Priority In Indy

Newsy affiliate WRTV reports how Project Period is working to get feminine hygiene products in Indy-area schools.
Posted at 2:26 PM, Nov 26, 2019

It's never a girls fault that she has her period.  It happens to everybody and we sometimes don't know when it is going to happen. 

 

 DESTINY MURLY IS A 17 YEAR OLD JUNIOR AT SOUTHPORT HIGH SCHOOL.  

 SHE AND HER FRIEND REAGAN DILK - WANT MORE OF THEIR PEERS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT THEIR PERIODS-- SINCE IT'S A FACT OF LIFE FOR YOUNG WOMEN.

 

Just like everything else that happens to our bodies, it is natural, we can't help it and it should be something that we should be able to talk about it.

 

 AND GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH "PERIOD TALK" IS JUST THE FIRST STEP IN TACKLING A BIGGER ISSUE: MAKING SURE ALL YOUNG WOMEN HAVE ACCESS TO THE HYGIENE PRODUCTS THEY NEED.

 

Not knowing if I don't have the products or not is even more stressful.

 

 THANKFULLY AT SOUTHPORT HIGH THE SCHOOL NURSE'S OFFICE IS THERE TO HELP.

 

For a lot of girls this might be the only avenue they have to get products

 

 THE SOUTHPORT HIGH NURSES TELL ME THERE ARE A NUMBER OF REASONS A STUDENT MIGHT NEED TO RELY ON THEM FOR FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS.

 MONEY IS ONE OBSTACLE.

 SO IS TRANSPORTATION.

 SOMETIMES THEIR GUARDIANS AREN'T AWARE OF WHAT THEY NEED.

 AND OTHER TIMES-- STUDENTS FORGET TO KEEP PADS OR TAMPONS WITH THEM JUST IN CASE.

 THE NURSES SAY JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SCHOOL SUPPLIES-- HAVING THOSE ITEMS ON HAND IS ESSENTIAL TO LEARNING.

 

The more we eliminate the obstacles, the more class time that we can optimize.  So if she doesn't have the proper supplies, it may cause her to bleed thorugh later in the day and then what could have been a five minute visit to the clinic then turns into a 45 minute visit.

 

 CLASSROOM TIME ASIDE-- STUDENTS COULD ALSO BE PUTTING THEIR HEALTH IN DANGER WITHOUT THE RIGHT PRODUCTS.

I have had students come in and report to me that they have had the same tampon in since 9 oclock last night and it is 1 in the afternoon. 

 

 JUST THIS SCHOOL YEAR - PERRY TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS HAVE PROVIDED STUDENTS WITH 12-HUNDRED FEMININE PRODUCTS.

 

 STRETCHING THE BUDGET TO COVER FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS CAN BE A CHALLENGE.

 

We had to scrounge around for it.

 

 THAT'S WHERE THE GROUP "PROJECT PERIOD" STEPS IN TO HELP.

 

It is just our little five woman team. 

 

 SINCE 2017, JENNA EICKMAN AND HER TEAM HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTING PADS, TAMPONS, WIPES, AND EVEN CARRYING BAGS TO SCHOOLS IN DOWNTOWN INDY, FRANKLIN AND PERRY TOWNSHIPS AND DECATUR CENTRAL.

 

It's a bigger problem than anyone could have ever imagined.  We were learning that girls were missing school.  And these girls already have enough things to worry about.

 

 THEY SAW A NEED IN THEIR COMMUNITY, AND WANT TO MAKE SURE GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN IN CENTRAL INDIANA AREN'T GETTING PRICED OUT OF PRODUCTS THEY NEED TO LIVE AND LEARN.

 

It is not something that is always provided by other community programs like WIC and Food Stamps  - They were getting other items donated but not pads and tampons.

 

Let's break down the numbers, the cost for a box of tampons on average is about $7.  For a box of pads that could be about $4.  So throughout the year for period cycles that is going to be about $40 to $70 for one person.  And for a lot of Hoosier families, that is not a price that they can not afford.  That does not even include the cost of over the counter medication for cramps and for extra underwear.

 RIGHT NOW - THE SHELVES OF PROJECT PERIOD'S STORAGE UNITS ARE WELL STOCKED THANKS TO A PARTNERSHP WITH ALLIANCE PERIOD SUPPLIES AND YOU BY KOTEX.  

 BUT THIS IS A RARE SIGHT.

 

Normally it's just one shelf.  We actually are really excited to be partnered with them.  It is really helpful. 

 

 AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE ASKING THE COMMUNITY TO STEP UP AND HELP THEM HELP OUR INDIANAPOLIS STUDENTS.  

 

It's important.  It is a necessity.  We think about food, we think about clothes, we think shelter.  But this is a necessity for these women and girls and I think a lot of people don't think about it as a necessity but it really is.

 

 BECAUSE OF PROJECT PERIOD'S DELIVERIES TO 30 AREA SCHOOLS-- STUDENTS SAY THEY DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT TIME OF THE MONTH. AND INSTEAD, THEY'RE FOCUSING ON LEARNING.

 

I know tampons and pads are very expensive, and I know sometimes people can't afford it and sometimes I can't afford it.  so knowing that I can go down there and get free products is really nice.