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Jul. 15, 2019 | Monday
Local News
Tampon Tuesday has Niagara women covered
Sean Simpson, owner and Rebecca van der Zalm, pharmacy assistant. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

The United Way called for under-donated products for women during Tampon Tuesday, a fundraising campaign that took place across Canada March 5.

An initiative by the United Way to gather unopened boxes of feminine hygiene products for women in need, Tampon Tuesday has been happening annually for 10 years.

United Way Niagara joined the project three years ago in St. Catharines, expanding the reach to Niagara Falls and Welland this year after three local United Way chapters came together to form the Niagara branch.

Tanya Faulkner, labour program and service co-ordinator for United Way Niagara, said the event provided an evening of socializing and networking while bringing awareness to the fact that these products are often under donated and in demand.

With support from community partners, who had bins out to collect boxes leading up to Tuesday evening’s event, Faulkner said she was hopeful they would reach their goal.

Referencing the #oneboxchallenge that circled social media sites, Faulkner said the community was “very involved.” The challenge asked people to donate just one box of pads or tampons. “One box to make a difference,” she said.

Niagara-on-the-Lake residents were up to the challenge.

Simpson’s Pharmasave on Niagara Stone Road in NOTL took part this year, collecting boxes right up until they were delivered to Cat’s Kitchen on Tuesday evening. Operations manager Catherine Porter said the store received overwhelming support from community and staff.

“Often those sort of products are forgotten but very much needed. It’s really something that the United Way has highlighted. Their mission is to highlight the need for those products.”

Porter said the store actively supports the United Way, promoting initiatives in-store and online to boost community involvement.

Faulkner said the Tampon Tuesday campaign is important because it helps women receive products they may not have otherwise. Often women have to make the choice between buying food or buying tampons. She said they should be able to have both.

Some parents, unable to afford hygiene products for their daughters, will have to keep them home from school, she said.

“It creates a bigger problem getting into missed school and falling behind.”

“It’s something that we can do to help them, so they can worry about the things they need to worry about, not to have to worry about something that is natural for women. We want to take away the stigma of needing these products and having your period.”

On Tuesday evening, supporters gathered at Jack Astor’s in St. Catharines, Cat’s Kitchen and Bar in Niagara Falls and Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse Casual in Welland, to listen to representatives from some of the agencies speak about the importance of these donations and the impact they have on the lives of women in need.

Faulkner said United Way hosted similar events on the same night across Canada.

People were asked to bring an unopened box of feminine hygiene products and the first 150 people through the doors received a pink lei as a thank you.

Last year, Faulkner said the project gathered 2,300 boxes, which went out to three or four area agencies. This year, she said the goal was 6,000 boxes, which they gave to 16 different agencies around the Niagara region, including the YWCA and Gillian’s Place. “Almost triple, but we’re tripling our area.”

By the end of the evening, Faulkner said they had collected 3,000 boxes. United Way Niagara will continue to collect them all week, up to and including International Women’s Day on Friday.

Agencies will accept donations of feminine hygiene products year round.

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