Join LAMPa in supporting measures to end period poverty in Pennsylvania, beginning March 8, International Women’s Day!*

Period poverty – the inability to afford menstrual hygiene products – has gained more and more attention in recent years, though the issue is nothing new. For generations, those who experience menstruation have too often had to miss school or work due to lack of period supplies, or because of period stigma. Many of our congregational pantries who serve struggling families and individuals have reported that this is still the case in schools and communities around the Commonwealth.

Susan Barclay, a member of LAMPa’s Policy Council who operates a food pantry in Rockwood, Somerset County, shared a recent encounter:

“We receive donations about 6 times a year from CVS. The donation includes things that CVS cannot sell for a variety of reasons. One year we received an abundance of feminine hygiene products. I serve many senior citizens, not many females in need of said products. I noticed that I had an abundance of these products. So I called the local school district to see if she could use the products. She took some but said she would share with other districts my abundance. I received a call from a neighboring district. They had a family of four girls who each missed one week of school each month because the family could not afford feminine hygiene products. I took to her every thing I had. She cried and I cried. My mother tells the story of her missing school as a young girl for the same reason. I was thrilled to bless the lives of these young girls, wishing my mother could have been so blessed.”

“Many of us, as daughters, heard the same stories from our mothers and grandmothers,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale, “but with the distance of time, and perhaps, more means, did not appreciate the impact it made on their education and their opportunities. In addition to caring for the next generation, we honor the strides they made by making sure others do not face the same hardship.”

A 2021 study found that 1 in 4 teen students have missed school because they cannot afford adequate period supplies, and the lack of access has a greater impact on low-income students and people of color. Additionally, the inflation for period supplies has outpaced the general inflation rate, making access to affordable products even more out of reach.

Governor Shapiro has included $3 million for period products in public schools in his budget proposal. LAMPa is launching a postcard campaign to encourage lawmakers to ensure that at least that amount is preserved in the final budget.

Addressing period poverty and taking steps to provide menstrual hygiene products in public spaces is a crucial step in addressing educational, gender, and economic equity. This is why LAMPa is launching our Period Poverty Postcard Campaign.

What to do:

  1. Congregations and individuals are invited to download and print from our suite of postcard design and message options, available on Canva even without a Canva account. You can download and print at home, order prints directly from Canva, or LAMPa will order for you if you let us know when your event is! We also have a plain letter form for printing, if you prefer.
  2. Hold a postcard writing party on a Sunday during or after worship, or with a small group! Here are instructions to print out for your group!
  3. Find out who your state legislators are here and fill in their name and Harrisburg address on the right side of the card.
  4. On the left, include a personalized note *and your name and address* (this is the most important!!).
  5. Stick your stack of postcards in a big envelope and send it by *May 15th* to our LAMPa office (1959 Market St. Camp Hill, PA 17011). This helps us know how many are being sent, and which lawmakers have constituents who care about this!
  6. LAMPa staff will hand deliver stacks of postcards to your lawmakers as we visit them in the lead up to budget negotiations in May and June.

What we’re asking :

  • Governor Shapiro has included $3 million for period products in public schools in his budget proposal. Our main ask on the postcards is for lawmakers to ensure that at least that amount is preserved in the final budget.

The ELCA’s Social Statement on Faith, Sexism, and Justice includes a call to the Church to “[a]dvocate for and support laws, policies, and practices that respect diverse bodies rather than discriminating against, objectifying, or devaluing them. Women, girls and people who identify as non-binary must not be deprived of their human or civil rights.”

Additionally, the statement encourages people of faith to “support economic policies, regulations, and practices that enhance equity and equality for women and girls, with special concern for raising up women and girls who experience intersecting forms of oppression.” Beginning the journey of ending period poverty in Pennsylvania is one of the ways in which LAMPa helps disciples lives out this call to action.

For more theological reflections on the intersection of discipleship and ending period poverty, visit our Substack here.

*LAMPa recognizes that not all women menstruate and not all who menstruate are women. And we believe the intersection of gender inequity and period poverty necessitate raising up both issues with one voice to seek justice across genders.

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