Saultites gathered together in support of women in poverty on Tuesday evening for the United Way’s second annual Tampon Tuesday event, held at The Grand Theatre, where they received a tasty treat and a chance to socialize in exchange for either one unopened box of a feminine hygiene product or a cash donation, which will be used to purchase additional product.
This event originated in London, ON about 10 years ago after a woman named Mandy Field did a tour at a shelter and noticed the section for feminine hygiene products was empty. She then created a mission to promote this need, which United Way of Canada took on. United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District picked it up last year.
There were also drop-off locations throughout the city previous to the event for those who couldn’t make it to the event, but wished to contribute.
Sault Ste. Marie District Labour Council has been involved in Tampon Tuesday since it’s inception, helping out by setting up six collection sites in the Sault.
Michele McCleave-Kennedy, President of the Labour Council, said both years the back seat of her car has been filled with boxes full of feminine hygiene products.
“(This) is something we feel that we need to give back to community,” she explained.
“For people that are homeless, people that are living on low-income, this is just an added expense that they don’t need, so it’s been nice for our members to be able to contribute to people that don’t have the funds.”
UW Fundraising Manager Ranya Evoy told SaultOnline that last year’s event saw about 30 people and around 300 boxes of products, and this year has been even larger.
“The hope is to continue growing it,” she said, “and over the years to come, to continue on doing Tampon Tuesday.”
Evoy said she hopes the event continues to grow as people become more aware of this ever-growing need for women living in poverty.
“Unfortunately, people are living in poverty every day. The poverty rate here in Sault Ste. Marie is actually greater than it is in Canada as a whole, so we have many local women who just aren’t able to afford to buy feminine hygiene products, and as we know, we can not prevent getting a monthly cycle,” she said.
“Having to purchase a product which the price is constantly going up is overwhelming to someone who has to decide whether to buy a meal tonight or buy a box of tampons. That’s a big ordeal. So it’s very important, it’s definitely needed, and we want to help move people from poverty to possibility, so it’s important to support and show your local love.”
If you missed out on this event, you can still drop items off at either United Way or Harvest Algoma until Mar. 31.
For more information on the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District, click here.