Edmonton Journal: Tampon donation drive highlights damage of menstrual taboo

The woman was begging for money, same as every day. But this time, as Scarlet Bjornson reached to find some change, she asked the woman why.

The answer was both mundane and shocking: she wanted alcohol but needed tampons.

“I had never, ever thought of that,” said Bjornson, at that time a real estate agent living in Mill Woods. Bjornson went to her car, gave the woman her emergency stash of menstrual products, and that evening started planing a donation drive.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the people I talk to, they haven’t thought of it either,” she said as she prepared to launch the second annual drive this month. It’s a deeply personal need, tied up with such emotion. But response has been strong and No Women Without now has more than one dozen donation locations across the city. They’re collecting pads, tampons and menstrual cups throughout February to restock shelves at Bissell Centre, Win House and other crisis organizations.

Perhaps this is a strange thing to read about in a local newspaper, but No Women Without is the second Edmonton non-profit formed recently specifically to collect menstrual products. It’s part of growing awareness of the need and global discussion on breaking the stigma around menstruation.

Women, girls and trans people who don’t have a supply risk infection when they use a product too long or resort to tightly-rolled wads of toilet paper, Kleenex or hand towels. Low-income girls who can’t access enough products are likely to miss school. Any woman surprised by an unpredictable period in public faces a desperate scramble.

Read Full Article on Edmonton Journal Website

The Start of No Woman Without

One evening a homeless woman asked me for change. I asked her what she was going to spend the money on, in no way at all did she have to tell me, the money was hers regardless. She said, well truthfully ma’am I would like to buy some booze but I need to buy some tampons. That hit me in the face like a brick. I went to my car grabbed my emergency stash of tampons from the car and gave them to her and told her to enjoy her drink. who am I to judge? That’s what I would likely spend my money on…

And it hit me. Listen, I am not in the best financial position BUT I can go and buy tampons when I need them. I thought about it all night. How a homeless woman would need to have money for laundry and extra change of clothes….

September 21st, took to Facebook about last night’s experience and expressed interest in organizing a Tampon Drive. This post totally blew up and here we are.

There are women leaving such a bad situation they can’t even think to grab shoes let alone tampons.

This is a totally natural event and we do not ask for it. The average woman will spend THOUSANDS dealing with the effects of her Menstrual cycle. Imagine what our vulnerable female population has to deal with. Plus add have teenage daughters in the house. Expenses double!

-Scarlet Bjornson – Founder of No Woman Without