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Posted: January 24, 2023

Local pilot project gets grant to eliminate period poverty

Through a provincial grant announced in May 2022, United Way BC has dispersed approximately $220,000 for 10 pilot projects that work toward the elimination of period poverty, including one in Cranbrook.

“No one should have to choose between paying for food and menstrual products,” said Shelia Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Period products should be available to people who can’t afford them. That’s why we’re funding community projects to help people access the supplies they need.”

The projects will test innovative approaches and methods of distributing free menstrual products, conduct studies to examine the factors that contribute to period poverty and look for ways to reduce stigma around menstruation in culturally appropriate ways. Funded pilot projects must be completed by August 2023.

Results from pilot projects will help the Period Poverty Task Force develop recommendations for a comprehensive and sustainable response to period poverty in B.C by March 2024.

A pilot project in ʔaq̓am and Cranbrook is receiving $25,000 for a survey to inform the development of subscription-based service and delivery of free menstrual products to people who menstruate on and off reserve.

Since the start of its partnership with United Way BC in 2019, the province has funded several period poverty initiatives, including the creation of the Period Poverty Task Force.

“People with lower incomes who menstruate can be caught without products and face stigma and social isolation. This can also impact people who work or attend school. That’s why we’re working with United Way BC to deliver regional grants so local community organizations are empowered to create projects that will eliminate period poverty,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.

“As the Period Poverty Task Force conducts the research and investigation into building a comprehensive, long-term response to period poverty in B.C., these pilots provide not only the products people need but also the data for long term recommendations for sustainable change. They are an important step to ensure people have increased access to menstrual products in our communities,” said Nikki Hill, chair, Period Poverty Task Force.

“Eradicating period poverty requires a comprehensive understanding of the diverse challenges and stigmas experienced by all impacted community members. At United Way BC, we are proud to partner with the Government of B.C. in supporting these community-led projects and the development of innovative and culturally sensitive solutions to ending period poverty,” added Michael McKnight, CEO, United Way BC.

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