LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – It’s not an issue that people are aware of and it’s certainly not a topic they want to discuss but feminine products are in high demand at La Crosse schools.
Students in Central High School’s Fem Club say that is just plain unacceptable so they reached out to the Women’s Fund for help.
“When I came to their club for the first time I was just blown away about how candid they are about what it’s like to have a period, about what it’s like to not have the products necessary to get through your period and get through your school day, said Kaycie Green, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund.
She says for years the Women’s Fund has been receiving requests for feminine products at local shelters and food pantries and still the problem was always hush hush. “I think the more that we can make it so that women don’t feel that shame about something that is very natural the better.”
The students agree and are well on their way to changing the stigma associated with an often taboo topic.
Senior Allyson Fergot, the Fundraising Director and PR Person for the club said, “When women are on their period they want to keep it a secret. They don’t want anyone to know. And not having the products that you need. it makes you feel very ostracized from the rest of your classmates.”
Colin Dickman, also in the Fem Club, is a man of few words but he is a man who decided to weigh in. “I think it would be pretty embarrassing to go ask for supplies you need.”
Local food pantries say feminine products are often the most requested item after diapers. Their high price is the main reason they are in high demand because people who can barely make ends meet have other expenses to think about. That’s where donations come in handy.
“When people think food pantry they don’t think hygiene products and this is definitely something we need,” said Samantha Riniker from WAFER. “As a woman I know that these are crazy expensive so to have an opportunity to provide these products to families that need them that’s one of our goals that we’d like to do.”
Stacy Milby, Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army says she wants the public to understand that feminine products aren’t a luxury item. They are a necessity. “Your personal hygiene is so very important to your overall health so if you don’t have the products, it’s pretty unsanitary.”
And more than that…for people already feeling down about their situation…not having feminine products can have a lasting “negative” impact and keep them from getting back on their feet.
“You know so many kids in our school don’t have those products…like that’s in our school, in our community. It’s not just people in third world countries,” said Peyton Haug, Fem Club president. “If you have the power to change it you should.”