Periods don’t have to be an uncomfortable topic. Hi, I’m Shaunna (She/her), new to The Period Purse (TPP). One of the amazing things that brought me to TPP is the desire to eliminate the stigma associated with periods.
The topic of periods can often be uncomfortable for menstruators, especially for those who experience extremely painful periods. It becomes more awkward because the pain is difficult to hide and may be debilitating at times which creates anxiety. Some common worries are: Where will I be when it comes? Will I be in a safe space? Will I have the resources that I need? Will I have to use a sick day again this month? Increased education for all people can help eliminate the uncertainty that many people experiencing periods face each month.
My hope is that by contributing in a positive way to TPP, we can continue to eliminate that stigma together, creating a better understanding of what our bodies are going through in those times of need. Menstruation is a natural process and sometimes requires accommodation from others. When those accommodations are delivered void of judgment, it makes the process easier.
We each experience periods differently and it may vary from month to month. A better understanding that we are not all uniform in our experience helps improve accommodation.
Let’s take a ride and discover what it takes to run mini drives with Queen City Diva’s (QCD). This all-female motorcycle club is made up of, “a diverse group of intelligent, sassy, determined, focused, driven, spicy and delightful women, from all walks of life, religions and races.”
Tenacious Diva (SJ) and Tinkerbell Diva, event coordinators of the Club, say, “unity drives us, motivation moves us, dedication glues us. The philosophy of this organization is to be dedicated to the service of its members. Our service to each other will allow us to better service our community.”
This past year, the QCD’s put their philosophy in action by organizing a mini drive for The Period Purse, a unique not-for-profit, as the first of its kind to focus on period poverty in Canada. But why did the QCD’s choose the Period Purse?
QCD member, Tenacious Diva, shares, “I wanted to bring attention to the Queen City Diva’s. By fundraising something that was exceptionally rare, something that was different, something different from the common food, clothing, and toy drive. During my research I came across the Period Purse.”
“As a female motorcycle club, this tied in with the mission of Queen City Diva’s perfectly - as women we can relate, support, educate and bring awareness to a predominantly male motorcycle community. The Period Purse was a perfect idea” Tenacious Diva continued.
The QCD’s drive was a resounding success! They attribute the success of their mini drive to their deep connection to their community.
Sharing posts about the mini-drive on Instagram afforded QCD members the opportunity to connect with motorcycle enthusiasts across the city. Donors were able to drop off product donations at restaurant and community partner, Contigo. For those unable to drop off products in person, the QCD’s collected monetary donations via the Period Purse’s online donation page.
The QCD’s mini-drive reminds us how mini drives make room for everyone to contribute, whether you’re donating your time, raising or donating funds, collecting period products or all of the above!
Mini drives, such as the QCD’s, are integral to the daily operation of the Period Purse as we strive to get period products into the hands of marginalized menstruators who need them.
While the Period Purse is based in Toronto, mini-drives in support of our organization have been held across Canada, in communities of all shapes and sizes. Mini-drives can be hosted anywhere!
Our mini-drive program shows us that the sum is always greater than its parts. We all know how community connects and bonds us - there is tremendous power in the companionship we forge raising funds and collecting period products, working towards a single cause.As the beating hearts of our community and your own, if you’re interested in running a mini drive or have more questions, email us or read more on how to run a mini drive here.
I talk about periods a lot, even before I stepped into the position of education coordinator at The Period Purse last September. At parties, book events, in casual conversation—it doesn’t take very long before I start talking about menstrual equity, period products, or period facts I wish I had known years ago. My narrator got her first period in Words That Start With B—my very first kids’ book, published thirteen years ago—something that young readers still email me about to this day—and my next kids’ novel P.S. Tell No One is all about puberty, including frank conversations about periods. I wasn’t always like this. It took years to actively unpack the toxic and shame-driven messages I received about menstruation growing up.
How different things might have been had I access to inclusive, period positive presentations like the ones we offer in The Period Purse’s education program, Menstruation Nation. I love the use of the word ‘nation,’ a reminder that menstruation affects a large, diverse community of people. This fall, we decided to emphasize the idea of a nation and a community of menstruators by adding more voices to the mix in Periods 101, our introductory module aimed at kids in grades 5-8. Dr. Ullanda Neil MD, CCFP is a family doctor, Dr. Anne Hussain ND is a naturopath and menstrual health advocate , Dr. Erin TeWinkel ND is a naturopath that specializes in working with teens, and Erin Ferrante is an Indigenous Auntie who works with Kenhtè:ke Midwives. The expertise, personal period stories, and positive outlook of these four professionals bring depth, breadth, and warmth to the module. It is a great source of information and affirmation for kids who are just starting to learn about menstruation.
Thanks to a generous donation, Periods 101, as well as our other education modules directed at youth—Period Poverty and Reusable Period Products—are free for students this year. This is great info to pass along to the teachers, principals, school boards, and youth leaders in your life. These presentations are an excellent supplement to health, sex-ed or social justice curriculum. Sit back and let our trained Menstruation Nation presenters take the lead with up-to-date, period-positive, and inclusive information. In my work with Menstruation Nation, I have learned you’re never too old to learn about menstruation. Maybe your adult group is curious about the environmental impact of period products or is interested in learning about how you can help the people in your community who cannot afford products. Be sure to check out our adult education modules, Advocacy for Period Equity in Canada or Plant Positive Periods: Sustainable Periods from Aisle.
There are two stats from recent studies that both haunt and motivate me in this work. The first is that only 46% of Canadians are comfortable talking about periods, ranking it below politics, sex, and STIs (Let’s Talk Periods Report). That is a shocking number to me. The second stat is that one third of all menstruators in Canada under the age of 25 struggle to afford products (Plan Canada). That’s a lot of people. But we can’t address financial barriers and equity if we’re not comfortable talking about periods in general. It’s 2023, isn’t it time we took that stigma out of menstruation? Educate yourself and offer the gift of education to the young people in your life. Join the Menstruation Nation and become #StigmaFreein23!
The Period Purse (TPP) has a storage unit in Toronto, that provides you a drop off location year round! (Sorry, you probably need access to a car.)
1. Come when you can!
The TPP headquarters are located in Dymon Storage.
1460 The Queensway, Etobicoke (near Kipling & The Queensway)
You can drop off your donation during business hours:
Sat & Sun 9am-6pm
You don’t need to write to us and confirm, you’ll drop off the donations with the Dymon staff and they will let us know. Thank you, thank you!
Dymon Storage (big tall sign that says, "Dymon")
The Period Purse
1460 The Queensway, M111
* Across the street from IKEA Etobicoke, north side of Queensway
* Enter the parking lot off Vansco Road
2. Bring all your donations!
We are only accepting: pads & tampons (open boxes are fine), menstrual cups & discs (new), cloth pads (new), and underwear (new).
* we are no longer accepting bags, purses, toiletries, etc.
For larger donations (skid sized, etc.), please contact our Operations Manager.
3. Easy drop off!
Dymon provides quick & easy drop off.
- park in front of their retail store (yes, it looks like a store, not a storage unit)- this entrance is closest to Ikea, facing Vansco Road
- enter through their double sliding doors
- drop your donation at the front desk
- tell them it's a delivery for The Period Purse
4. Snap a picture, share and tag!
Take a picture of your donation- tag us on IG @theperiodpurse
Pat yourself on the back. You are helping those who are impacted by period poverty!
Thank you for your donation! Any questions, please email us.
Period products like tampons, liners and pads, are made with plastic, which has negative ecological impacts on our environment. These products can take up to 450 years to decompose in landfills, sewer systems and waterways. If you are looking for more ecologically friendly period products, take heart! There are many reusable options on the market to consider.
Consider the options available
Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use an average of 4,000 pads and tampons, so there are ample opportunities to find the right reusable product.
Trina, mother of a 12 year old, offers advice on how she helps her kids choose the right products.She says, “my advice to other parents is to talk to your child. Let them know what's out there - explore it together and ask them what they think works best for them. I try to have several options available at home for when they are needed. We went to the Knix store with one of my child's friends and their mother.”
“We let the kids pick out the styles they found most comfortable and then went out for ice cream. We made it into a special day.”
When menstruators have access to credible information, it can help them better understand their bodies, make good decisions for their health and make informed choices about which menstrual products to use.
Angela, mother of two shared, “I used disposable pads until I was a young adult because my mother was worried that using tampons meant you weren't a virgin so she told me to just use pads! As a nurse, it was very important that my kids only have accurate information (unlike what I was taught!) so they were given factual information about [period products] right from the start.”
“Figure out what works best for you”
Finding the right reusable product can take time. Angela suggests, “figure out what works best for you, and what your preferences are for each stage of your period. For my teens, they prefer cloth pads just overnight and on days they'll be home so they don't have to change them somewhere else.”
The demand for more sustainable period products has increased and fortunately options have never been greater. Start exploring different products out there!