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Period Party successes lead to ask for free products in Picton public washrooms

Ramona Roblin, 9, lead this year’s Period Party fundraiser and awareness campaign.

UPDATE: Council asked for a staff report exploring the possibility of providing products in community facilities.

APRIL 4: Nine-year-old Ramona Roblin will join Alison Kelly to share with council good community news about this year’s Period Party and seek support to provide free menstrual products in all public washrooms in Picton.

Established in 2018, PEC Period Party is a community project that seeks to raise awareness on period poverty, fundraise for essential hygiene products and create a safe space for menstruating people to normalize talking about menstrual health.

In February, at three donation locations – Kelly’s Shop, 555 Brewing Co., and Midtown Brewery – more than $10,000 in products were donation along with more than $2,000 in cash.

Products were donated to the two local school boards, the Picton library, ROC Youth Centre, the Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre, Prince Edward Learning Centre, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Ukraine Donation drop-off.

Four coin-free machines and additional products were donated to Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (two), Athol-South Marysburgh and CML Snider public schools.

As part of her community awareness, Ramona 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.”

Susan Quaiff, executive director at The HUB, adds that the child and family centre, primarily employing a female workforce, “knows all too well the costs association with having a menstrual cycle can be expensive. Providing this resource to the community in the downtown core public restrooms is a great way to support those in need who cannot afford these products.”

Alexandra Bake, vice-chair of the Picton Business Improvement Association, writes that there is increasing awareness that not all residents are thriving within the community, and period poverty is real.

“Addressing the needs of all female constituents providing essential basics, free-of-charge, to anyone that needs them, embraces the inclusive foundation of our community with forward-thinking actions for our whole downtown area, and the entire County.”

“As a leader in a post-secondary institution, providing such products free-of-chare could mean the difference between a student attending school on any particular day, and staying home. The choice is an easy one, requiring little debate,” said Sean Monteith, senior vice-president academic and chief learning officer at Loyalist College, in his letter of support. “Whether the incentive is to remove stigma, remove a potential barrier, or address underlying social accessibility considerations, the fact of the matter is that providing free menstrual products is not just a low-cost, high-benefit action, but also an ethically responsible one as well.”

Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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  1. Alison Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing this great news!

    For those who tuned in, it’s important to note that Ramona’s speaking parts were from the public speaking speech she did for her grade 4 class at Albert College. There was no adult intervention at all. Just adult helpers.

    Well done, Ramona!!

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