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Zonta donates to personal hygiene project at All Saints

Courtesy Photo The Zonta Club of Alpena Tri-County Area recently donated women’s personal hygiene products to the program at All Saints Catholic Parish, called “Time to help, Period.” Pictured in back from left to right are Zonta members Julie Rouleau, Lisa VanHorn and Pam Werth, All Saints Program Coordinators Brydi King and Kristin Carriveau, and Zonta members Peggy Donakowski, Barb Rigg, Kristin Marsh and Ann Weir. In front from left to right are Zonta members Cathy McFalda and JoAnn Kamyszek.

ALPENA ­– When people plan to donate, they think food, clothing, and shelter. But another necessity that is often overlooked is period products for women who can’t afford them.

That’s why All Saints Catholic Parish is addressing what is called “period poverty” with the program, “Time to help, Period.”

Period poverty is lack of access to sanitary products for women due to financial difficulties and other factors, a pamphlet about the program reads.

“We are collecting period products, then we send those out to different points of contact,” said Program Coordinator Kristin Carriveau of All Saints Catholic Parish.

The products are distributed to Alpena High School, ACES (Alternative Choices for Educational Success) Academy, Thunder Bay Junior High, and Alpena Community College.

“We also help supply to The Friendship Room, St. Vincent Food Panty, and the Salvation Army,” Carriveau said.

“Sanitary products are considered a luxury for some of the women who come to us,” St. Bernard’s Friendship Room Director Randy MacAulay said in the pamphlet.

A need was identified, and the program started in September to meet that need.

“We’ve really had a great response,” Carriveau said of the community. “People have really been generous.”

Parishoners have donated items in the baskets at All Saints, and Ossineke United Methodist Church has also partnered to collect donations. Community groups such as the Zonta Club of Alpena Tri-County have collected and donated boxes full of period products: tampons, maxi pads, pantyliners and the like.

Carriveau said Brydi King, Alpena High School student and early college student at ACC, has helped greatly with the program.

“She’s been integral in not only helping to get this program started and organized, but in speaking as well,” Carriveau explained. “It’s wonderful to have youth actively involved in making our communities better.”

Carriveau said the idea for the program started when Father Scott Lawler received an email from someone in his home country of Scotland about period poverty, and he asked if it was an issue here.

“Anywhere you have a need for food and basic necessities, this is a need as well,” Carriveau said. “We want to start getting the community thinking, ‘Where can I make a difference?'”

Teen girls and and women who lack the resources to buy any or enough period products can feel embarrassed and even depressed by their predicament.

Here are some facts from the All Saints pamphlet, “Time to help, Period.”

¯ “An ‘Always’ survey of 16-24-year-olds reveals that nearly one in five American girls have left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to period products.”

¯ “A study by Obstetrics & Gynecology found that approximately one-fifth of low-income women are unable to afford needed menstrual hygiene supplies each month.”

“By making sure all women have access to menstrual products, we can help them keep healthy,” the pamphlet notes.

To donate period products, drop them off at All Saints Catholic Parish main office at 817 Sable St. in Alpena. For more information or to request a drop box at your workplace, call 989-354-3019 or email timetohelpperiod@alpenacatholics.org.