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Donation drive leads up to community Period Party

Ramona Roblin is again leading this year’s Period Party fundraiser and awareness campaign.

Prince Edward County businesses are stepping up to support this year’s efforts to end period poverty.

Ramona Roblin, 10, is co-organizing with former school board trustee Alison Kelly and several volunteers to host this year’s Period Party in a continued effort to make menstrual products accessible to people in need.

Established in 2018, the PEC Period Party is a community project that seeks to raise awareness, funds, essential hygiene products and creates a safe space for menstruating people to normalize talking about menstrual health.

Last year, the project raised $10,000 in products and $2,000 in cash which went to all schools in both Hastings Prince Edward District School Board and Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.

Donations also went to the fitness and aquatic centre, Prince Edward Learning Centre, Picton Library, ROC Youth Centre, The Mohawks of Bay of Quinte and the Ukraine Donation Drop-off.
Four coin-free machines and additional products were donated to PECI (two), Athol-South Marysburgh School and CML Snider School in Wellington.

The aim is to get products the hands of those who need them without stigma.

Drop off locations – March 12 to 18 – for cash and products include: Kelly’s Shop, 555 Brewery, and County Acupuncture in Picton; Adega WineBar in Consecon, The Dressing Room in Rossmore, Evergreen Kids Thrift in Sophiasburgh; PECish in Milford and Creekside Cafe in Wellington.

The actual ‘Party’ is set for March 19 at The Regent Theatre in Picton. Doors open at 1 p.m. with a screening of the 1991 coming-of-age film My Girl starting at 2 p.m. Admission is free of charge. Donations are welcome.

The party includes a ‘menstrual market’, local vendors, period trivia, questions and answers and door prizes.

Last April, Roblin and Kelly reported success of the Period Party to council and sought support to provide free menstrual projects in all public washrooms. Council tasked staff with creating a report expected to be forthcoming soon.

As part of her community awareness, Ramona also presented a speech to her Grade 4 class at Albert College on period poverty, participated in two interviews on radio 99.3 County FM and appeared in local media. She and Kelly were also asked to speak at the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee meeting.

Letters of support to end period poverty were shared from Alternatives for Women, the Prince Edward Learning Centre, Loyalist College, The HUB Child and Family Centre and the Picton BIA.

Darlene Thompson, executive director of the ROC Youth Centre, adds her support, noting the charity serves many youth who are marginalized through several systemic circumstances “with 70 per cent identified as living in low-income homes”.

The ROC, she notes, has also helped provide hygiene products through campaigns.

“Youth members tell staff that it’s a relief for them to have these available free, especially with our members being full-time students and with their families facing financial barriers.”

The Prince Edward Learning Centre also wrote a letter of support.

“We know first-hand that for those who are low-income or homeless, menstrual products are unaffordable and may not be easily accessible. This has been particularly challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maureen Adams, chair of the PELC board of directors. “This is an important initiative that we encourage the PEC council to support.”

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