Tampon Task Force raising money to distribute free period products to shelters, community members

So far they've delivered more than 1,100 period kits

MADISON, Wis. — A lot of attention has been placed on the lack of toilet paper in stores, but there’s another hygienic product that has also been difficult to get a hold of: period products.

A Reuter’s health study estimates that one in five women can’t afford these products. In a pandemic, that problem is amplified because of people’s personal financial struggles and the shortage of these products on shelves.

Many people also rely on their work place or public buildings to access these products, but now that many places are shut down, this is a resource that is no longer available.

It’s these reasons that motivated a group of women in Madison to start the Tampon Task Force to raise funds to help provide these products for free at local shelters.

“That’s a huge issue so we launched this campaign which is allocating all of our resources and funds and energy to providing free menstrual products to people who need them in the Dane County community,” said one of the Tampon Task Force’s directors, Maggie Di Sanza.

Di Sanza said a lot of the conversations around the pandemic have not included the need for menstrual products. Fellow task force director Amira Pieratti said there’s a stigma surrounding periods that keeps the conversation from happening.

“It’s often something that goes ignored because of the stigma that surrounds menstruation, ” Pieratti said. “It’s assumed that there isn’t an issue because it’s not being brought to the table. It’s ingrained in the American psyche that you do not talk about menstruation unless you are asking a friend in a whisper, ‘Hey do you have a tampon?'”

So far, the group has put together 1,100 period kits and donated to nine different locations throughout Dane County. Di Sanza, Pieratti, and fellow member Anika Sanyal all have products delivered to their homes and each make kits to distribute every week.

“Menstrual products are some of the least donated products to shelters even though they are some of the most demanded items,” Pieratti said.

“The need for organizations like Bleed Shamelessly and others across the United States to provide these products and ensure that menstruators aren’t forced to choose between buying food and buying period products,” Sanyal said.

In times like these when people are losing money, can’t find products in stores, and when dealing with a product that no government program covers,  Sanyal said, “It helped me realize that we need to take action because if we don’t then who else will?”

If you would like to donate to the group’s GoFundMe, you can do so here.

The group said they will continue to make and distribute period kits as long as the pandemic lasts and until the funds raised have run out.