The B.C. government is giving a $95,000 grant to United Way to help end "period poverty" in the province.

The United Way is distributing menstrual products to 12 non-profit organizations that help vulnerable women over the next year.

“This innovative pilot project provides pads and tampons to help tackle this issue at the local level, across our province,” said Neal Adolph, a director with United Way in the Lower Mainland and one of the organizers of United Way’s Period Promise campaign.

“We commend the government of B.C. for their leadership on this issue,” he said.

The community-based initiative builds on the popularity of United Way's 2019 Period Promise Campaign. The campaign accumulated about 500,000 donated menstrual products across the province in March and April.

“This Period Promise Research Project will bring light to how common period poverty is in our communities, how it affects your neighbours, and how community agencies, like Nanaimo Women’s Centre, can be a part of the solution,” said Signy Madden, executive director of United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island. 

The campaign also emboldened organizations to provide menstrual products internally.

“We are already working with the local BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union to supply hygiene products in the central and northern Vancouver Island region; we are so grateful for their donations and are eager to continue to make an impact on period poverty on Vancouver Island,” said Madden.

The non-profit organizations participating on Vancouver Island are:

  • Victoria – Victoria Youth Empowerment Society
  • Victoria – Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
  • Nanaimo – Nanaimo Women’s Centre

The local organizations will also track information on how period poverty affects residents and how improved access to menstrual products impacts their lives. The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will use this information to build solutions to further aid vulnerable people.

This is the first research project of its kind in Canada. Anyone struggling to afford menstrual products can the Period Promise website and take a four-minute confidential survey. To find accessible menstrual products in your area, please contact Nanaimo Women’s Centre.