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B.C.-wide period poverty campaign includes Tri-Cities fundraiser

With prices higher than before, United Way BC will be in Coquitlam this month to collect menstrual product and financial donations.
Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities collected hundreds of menstrual products in Coquitlam during United Way BC's Period Promise campaign in 2022.

High inflation and the rising costs of living are impacting Tri-Cities residents who experience periods.

Statistics Canada data shows prices are up 6.2 per cent in 2023 for personal care items like tampons and pads.

United Way BC believes this is widening the accessibility gap for those that can't afford or have troubling finding menstrual products, causing them to miss school, work and social events.

The non-profit group that serves the Tri-Cities is looking to match last year's record-breaking total of more than 700,000 products for its 2023 Period Promise fundraiser.

This includes a drop-off event in Coquitlam on May 28.

The province-wide campaign ends June 13 with the hopes of generating more awareness on period poverty.

"The cost of living has always been a concern, especially amongst vulnerable populations, such as newcomers, immigrants, refugees, and in the last year or so, inflation has certainly shot up quite a bit and has continued to make essential items for individuals and families very challenging to acquire," said Angelene Prakash, co-chair for United Way BC's Period Promise Community Action Group, in a release.

According to the organization's research, 26 per cent of B.C. residents who experience menstruation said they've gone through a period without a hygiene product.

The main factor: limited to no access to a menstrual product.

Of the respondents, 18 per cent said they missed school, 22 per cent said they missed work, 29 per cent for community events and 27 per cent for social gatherings.

As well, United Way BC said 75 per cent of those surveyed said that "having access to products at community organizations allows them to be more engaged in their community."

The Coquitlam drop-off fundraiser is set for May 28 at No Frills in Como Lake Village from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — co-organized by Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities.

For more information or to contribute to the Period Promise initiative, you can visit United Way BC's website.