NEW ORLEANS (press release) – In recognition of Period Poverty Awareness Week May 22-28, Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) is distributing free period supplies at 20 locations throughout Orleans Parish. Period poverty – a phrase used to describe the struggle low-income people who menstruate face when unable to afford menstrual products – affects one in three low-income people who report missing work, school or similar events due to lack of access to period supplies.
According to a study by U by Kotex, 68% of people agree that period poverty is a public health issue yet only 4% of Americans are aware of a local resource where free or reduced cost period supplies are available. The study also showed that period poverty disproportionately impacts Black (23%) and Latina people (24%).
During Period Poverty Awareness Week, JLNO is stocking 18 NOLA Community Fridge sites in and around Orleans Parish with free period supplies. Through a partnership with New Orleans Public Library, they will also offer free period supplies at Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center in Broadmoor and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
As an official Allied Program of the Alliance for Period Supplies, JLNO works year-round to distribute period supplies to those who are experiencing period poverty and takes an active role in civic engagement that can help end period poverty in Louisiana.
“Just like caregivers can’t go to work or attend school if babies can’t be in diapers at daycare, people who menstruate can’t go to school or work if they don’t have the supplies they need on a monthly basis,” says Holly Paczak, JLNO president. “With state and federal safety-net programs excluding the purchase of period supplies, JLNO is stepping in to close the gap.”
Last year, JLNO distributed more than 67,000 period products through a variety of community partnerships and to local schools. This year, JLNO aims to increase the supplies donated to more than 100,000.
“One in four teens in the U.S. have missed class due to lack of access to period supplies. And with Louisiana ranked 49th for women living in poverty, we need to raise awareness about period poverty and educate the community on the barriers facing people unable to afford supplies,” says Kendra Reade, JLNO period products chair. “With more than 40% of these students identifying as low income, it’s imperative that we support legislation to make period products available for free in schools.”
To help combat period poverty in our community, supporters are encouraged to join the movement and become an advocate to help #endperiodpoverty by asking your legislators to make period products accessible to all. To learn more about hosting a product drive or donating to JLNO’s Period Supplies program, visit jlno.org/periodsupplies.