Austin Diaper Bank, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area and City of Austin team to provide period products to 2,500 Austin teens
40% report missing school or work due to lack of period supplies
An estimated 2,500 at-risk teens will be provided free period supplies – an important basic necessity – through a pilot program launched April 1 by the Austin Diaper Bank, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) and the City of Austin.
The Menstrual Equity Program’s goal is to distribute 40,000 period products each month from April through September to individuals who participate in BGCAA after-school programs and live in city Housing Authority properties Chalmers Court, Meadowbrook and Booker T. Washington Terraces.
An estimated 40% of the teenagers targeted by the pilot program report missing school or work due to lack of period supplies – twice as high as the national average of one in five teens.
“Period supplies are school supplies and are essential products, not luxury items,” said Holly McDaniel, executive director of the Austin Diaper Bank, which also distributes period supplies through its Bright Spot program. “Having needed period supplies will give thousands more Austin teenagers the freedom to fully participate in daily life, no matter what time of the month.”
Since Bright Spot launched in February 2019, the Austin Diaper Bank has provided over 460,000 period products through Navarro Early College High School and Burnet Middle School in the Austin Independent School District as well as to the nonprofit’s 35 partner agencies that also receive diapers. As a partner in the program, the Austin Diaper Bank will receive $30,000 in city funds to purchase period products from U By Kotex and Medline Industries in large quantities at greatly reduced prices. BGCAA will distribute the supplies monthly in its Club on the Go™ program bags that also include sustainable snacks and meals, activities and other items.
“BGCAA is thrilled to partner with the Austin Diaper Bank and the City of Austin on this critical, and often forgotten about, need by teens living in our community,” said Misti Potter, CEO of BGCAA. “Being able to serve as a distributor of period products to students, through our Club on the Go™ program, is more than meeting an essential and biological need, it is ensuring our teens don’t miss out on their education, work or other activities due to not having these vital personal hygiene products.”
Individuals who don’t have sufficient period supplies sometimes use something else (toilet paper, paper towel, cloth, socks, etc.); borrow money or supplies; stay home from school, work or other appointments; or use nothing at all, according to a 2018 survey by U by Kotex, a founding member of the Alliance for Period Supplies, a program of the National Diaper Bank Network. The Austin Diaper Bank is a member of both.