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Since the summer of 2018, More than 350 boxes of high-quality, organic menstrual products have been donated every month by Friends of Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard to the Island Food Pantry, and the Martha’s Vineyard Family Planning Clinic, operated by Health Imperatives, to give to their visitors. In 2023 we increased our reach to those in need with supplies delivered monthly to the MV Boys & Girls Club food pantry, and the members of the Wampanoag Tribes of Aquinnah and Chappaquiddick. Menstrual products are expensive and are not covered by government benefits. Terre Young, President of the Friends of Family Planning explains the genesis of this program, “While interviewing a prospective board member, Kayte Morris who works at the food pantry, I learned that neither WIC nor SNAP coupons could be used to purchase menstrual products. Kayte told us that the Food Pantry receives supplies from the Greater Boston Food Bank and those products are the least desirable for various reasons but that they fly off the shelves. What an honor it is to make such an important difference to women and their families in our community. I thank my board and every generous donor to this project and to our mission.” Half of the population will have periods for up to forty years of their life. That is 450 menstrual cycles at a cost of thousands of dollars for the tampons and pads needed. Costs are even higher when medication, replacement underclothing, heating pads, and other necessary supplies are included. Time off and lost wages make menstruation even more costly. We can do more to stop period poverty. Friends estimate that it takes about $1,000 per month to supply these products to people in need. Kayte Morris, Executive Director of the Island Food Pantry was ecstatic, “Menstrual products are some of the most sought-after and least-donated items at the pantry. This program has enabled us to meet our client’s needs beyond simple nutrition, and this partnership has really created a channel of support and solidarity for people in need on the Vineyard. It’s really wonderful to be a part of a community that cares so deeply and holistically about each other.” The Monthly Tide Project was made possible through community donations and partnerships with Conroy’s Apothecary and Cronigs Market who generously discounted products for this initiative.

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