Period poverty is a public health crisis around the globe. Taxed and priced like a luxury, menstruation products are often inaccessible for people who are struggling financially.
Resisterhood, a mutual aid organization, set up their annual Red Tent Drive to help combat period poverty in New Paltz. They set up donation bins in several different local establishments including the Elting Library, Lush Eco Salon, The L salon and Jem hair studio. They donate the pads to Family of New Paltz, a walk in Crisis Center for people in need.
Although there’s been an initiative to use less wasteful menstruation products, Resisterhood asked people to only donate maxi pads. Member of Resisterhood, Michele Zipp, says that maxi pads are more flexible in terms of peoples living situations. “Families [of New Paltz] really need the maxi pads, they’re more requested than say tampons or period underwear. For folks who are often perhaps in a shelter, or living in a different lifestyle or don’t have a home are more transient. Maxi pads seemed to be the preferred thing,” Zipp says. “So because of the cost of these things, when they really should be free. We wanted to help folks who menstruate be able to have what they need as a dignity issue.”
In New York State, one out of every six women between the ages of 12 through 44, live below the federal poverty line. These people must choose between food on the table and menstruation products. Period activists have urged lawmakers to remove the sales tax on menstruation products. Today, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon have lifted the tax and to further menstruation equality. Hawaii, Delaware, California, New York, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia are the seven states that have made period products free in schools.
Resisterhood started six years ago after Donald Trump’s election in 2016. “It was a response to a feeling we needed to do more and to protect people’s rights for equality and so we found ourselves together being like what can we do?” Zipp said. “We looked within our community because, you know, it’s so important to look within our community to act. The expression is ‘act locally and that will spread out globally.’”
Since 2016, the Resisterhood has done much more for the local community. They had an art auction donating proceeds to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and fundraisers for different women’s shelters. They also had a forum on rape culture and sexual harassment in the workplace. Resisterhood also sings to raise money. The sisterhood community choir, directed by musician, Debbie Lan, meets every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the New Paltz Community Center. “We sing songs of empowerment and equality and look for different actions to put together to sing at and to create different ways to raise money where we see needed within the community,” Zipp explained.
Resisterhood collected the pads on Nov. 1, but you can still help the Family of New Paltz. To donate, you can contact the Resisterhood through their email, firstname.lastname@example.org