The Period Pantry is a grassroots non-profit initiative that operates within the Toronto area. It acts as a community-wide “pantry” for individuals throughout the city, storing menstrual products to distribute to those in need. The Period Pantry is constantly trying to expand and make new connections with Violence Against Women (VAW) Shelters, community centres, and social-service oriented organizations all across the city, in order to assure equal access to menstrual products for all people from the diverse neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto.
A world where all individuals have barrier-free access to sustainable menstrual products.
To provide individuals in need with access to a secure and reliable supply of menstrual products, while encouraging conversations around menstruation and healthy practices.
- Provide immediate relief with sustainable supplies of products to those in need struggling with menstrual management.
- Reduce the stigma around menstruation and encourage open conversations about health through workshops on menstruation and options to manage your period.
- Remove the economic barrier to reusable products for individuals in need to allow them long-term security for their menstrual management.
- Reduce the environmental impact of menstruation.
Why Do We Do This?
- 27% of the homeless population is female
- 20% of youth on the street identify as LGBT+
- In 2014, there was a rate of 403 admissions per 100 000 women to the shelter system.
- Menstrual products are one of the least donated items and often when they are available to be distributed, individuals are given less than can last them one day of their period.
Many individuals, beyond those on the street or in shelters, are still experiencing ‘period poverty’. They have to choose between rent, food, bus fare, and paying for menstrual supplies. The repercussions of not having proper supplies can be dire. Makeshift menstrual products are often made from newspapers or whatever is easily accessible. This often causes infections from bacteria or toxic chemicals and in severe cases can also lead to toxic shock syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
- Distribution of menstrual products to VAW Shelters, LGBTQ+ Spaces, and community centres in low-income neighbourhoods.
- Conducting workshops with all organizational partners, to teach recipients how to most effectively and safely use reusable menstrual products.