The Spot | The Period Purse Blog

Supporting Vulnerable Communities During COVID-10

Posted by Sarah Niedoba on 17 March 2020

Like you, we've been closely monitoring the latest news of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to extend our thoughts to you at this difficult and stressful time.

As you know, now more than ever it is essential that we continue to support our most vulnerable. Members of our community who are living below the poverty line, are precariously housed or are relying on shelters and drop-ins will be hardest hit by this outbreak.

As our supporter councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has said, we need our government to expand and mobilize resources for shelters and those working in the sector.

In the meantime, we can all do what we can to help in our community. Whether it's donating to our local shelter directly, sharing updates and calls to action on social media, or simply offering to pick up supplies for vulnerable or immunocompromised neighbours, we can take action to support those who need us most in this unprecedented time.

We know that as a supporter of The Period Purse, these are concerns you are taking seriously, and we thank you for your continued generousity and support.

Posted in:News  

No Pad? What Do You Do?

Posted by Sarah Niedoba on 8 March 2020

Picture this: You're out for the day, in the middle of an errand, a meeting or just sitting in traffic. Suddenly, you feel a familiar feeling of dread wash over you. You've got your period, but you don't have a pad.

Sound familiar? We've all faced this problem at some point, and while it can be annoying, it's rarely a crisis. A new pad or tampon is usually waiting for us in a desk drawer, a friend's bag, or at the closest drug store.

But not everyone is so fortunate. For many people, especially those experiencing poverty or homelessness, period products are too expensive, making every month its own struggle.

Some of these women generously chose to share their experiences with The Period Purse, to shed light on how they get by every month.

"There's a stigma about having your period on the street," shares Rose, a woman experiencing homelessness in Toronto. "We feel ashamed and worry about getting sanitary products. Many use toilet paper but in my experience it just doesn't work."

That's a sentiment that Amira -- who often uses toilet paper herself -- shares.

"It soaks through way faster than a pad, and doesn't stay put, which causes leaks," she says. "When that happens to me, I go to the thrift store and steal new pants. I'm not proud of that but what else am I going to do?"

Others, like Rafael, use clothing such as shirts and socks to create a makeshift pad.

"I put three or four socks into another sock and use it for as long as I can, then throw it out," she says. "Or squish a roll of toilet paper down and use that. Nothing works very well though, so we end up leaking through our clothes. There's a lot of shame about that."

Rose says that while she's been able to find places to access period products, they can be difficult to find, and many people are not as fortunate.

"I figured out that I could get pads and tampons from my doctor and a few other places, but most people don't know where to go," she says. "It would be such a weight off our shoulders to have the supplies we need."

That's where you come in.

This International Women's Day, help take this weight off of a menstruator's shoulders through our "Sponsor a Menstruator" program.

A couple of lattes. One fast food lunch. A bottle of wine. Just one of these is all you have to give up in order to provide one person with the supplies they need for a healthy, dignified period.
Through a monthly installment of just $12, you'll be helping take away just one of the burdens of a person experiencing homelessness.

Don't wait - sponsor a menstrator today!


Posted in:News  

10 Important Reasons to Donate to The Period Purse on Giving Tuesday

Posted by Sarah Niedoba on 3 December 2019

Every year, after scoring last minute deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, another holiday asks you to open your wallet one more time but for a very different reason.

Since 2011, Giving Tuesday has been a day for people to come together and support charitable organizations in their community. But with so many worthwhile causes, it can be difficult to decide where to send your donations this season.

That's why we've put together a handy list of reasons to donate to The Period Purse this Tuesday. From bringing the period equity conversation to the House of Commons to packing hundreds of period product kits for those in need, we've accomplished a lot this year and to continue our important work, we need your help.

Read on for the top 10 reasons to donate to The Period Purse this #GivingTuesday.

1. We're the First Registered Menstrual Equity Charity in Canada

This year we made it official we're a registered charity, the first in Canada to fight for menstrual equity. That means reducing stigma, educating the public and providing those who experience homelessness with access to free period products so they can experience periods with dignity.

2. We've Collected Hundreds of Products for Those in Need

Our bi-annual blitzes have collected hundreds of period products to donate to shelters across Canada. This year, teams of volunteers have gathered across Canada to pack much needed supplies and supportive notes for people experiencing homelessness. At just one of our Toronto packing parties, we packed 265 purses and 920 period packs for 19 shelters in the city.

3. And We're Collecting Donations All Year Round

In addition to our bi-annual blitzes, we're always encouraging volunteers to create their own "mini-drives" with their friends, family and coworkers. That means we're helping communities gather and donate supplies all year round.

4. Even Small Donations have A Big Impact

The Period Purse supports 530 people living in Toronto shelters. It costs $15.00 to make one delivery to a community partner, $20.00 for one pair of reusable period underwear and $40.00 for a reusable menstrual cup. Your donation will help us provide these important products for those who need them.

5. We're Pushing for Government Support

With support from The Period Purse, Toronto city councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam successfully passed a motion for the City of Toronto to provide additional funding to community service agencies across the city so they can distribute menstrual products to their clients and beneficiaries.

6. Our Message Made it to The House of Commons

This year, Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani spoke about The Period Purse in the House of Commons, bringing national attention to menstrual equity and calling for support from his fellow MPs. It doesn't get much more high profile than that.

7. We're Encouraging Others to #SayTheWordPeriod

This fall, we launched #SayTheWordPeriod with Toronto agency doug&partners, a campaign aimed at increasing positive conversations about menstruation in everyday life. Through creative and funny videos, we're encouraging others to break down the stigma around conversations about periods and menstrual equity.

8. We're Bringing Menstrual Education to the Classroom

Our Menstruation Nation program hosts period presentations in schools across the Toronto District School Board, providing youth, educators and guardians with the resources they need to enforce the importance of period positivity at home and school.

9. We're Spreading the Word About Sustainable Periods

We're committed to collecting and purchasing sustainable period products, including menstrual cups and reusable pads and underwear. While these products aren't the right choice for everyone with a period, we're working to make them available for those who choose to use them and discussing their benefits in schools across Toronto.

10. We're Growing, Canada

We have 16 chapters across Canada and are always open to volunteers who want to start a chapter in their town. The more chapters we have, the more people we can support having healthy, dignified periods each month.

Convinced yet? Donate today and be sure to share the news about The Period Purse this Giving Tuesday to help inspire others to make the change.

Tag @ThePeriodPurse on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to encourage others to join our community of powerful period advocates today.

Posted in:News  

Legendary Canadian Singer Bif Naked Talks First Period Stories and Menstrual Equity

Posted by Bif Naked on 23 November 2019
It was around the time that Bif Naked's Spaceman came out, in March of 1998, that I got my first period. Recently, I found myself talking on the phone with the legendary Canadian singer, over 20 years since that banger was released and, evidently, over 20 years since I first started menstruating.

This isn't about me, I swear. However, if you were to tell me back then that I would be chatting with the Bif Naked about her first period story, I probably would have assumed you were talking to the wrong Dani.

Remember when I said this wasn't about me? It's really not.

Bif Naked (whose real name is Beth Torber) is a big fan of menstrual equity. In fact, she's a huge advocate for women's healthcare rights in general. When she announced back in 2008 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, it came with a message about the importance of breast self-examinations.

When I asked Naked about her journey, she told me, "Had I not had cancer, I wouldn't have gotten an education [about] women, particularly women with barriers. Women experiencing homelessness, those who need cancer care in remote locations."

Naked realized that talking about these issues  could help provide health essentials for everyone, "from menstrual cups to mammograms."

After spending 30 years in Vancouver, Naked  recently moved to Toronto, and says she loves it. She's been working on a book of poetry, there's a new record on the way, and some upcoming tour dates. She's also involved in BMX with her husband.

Naked first heard about The Period Purse through social media, and says community organizations and charities like these have the power to support and uplift other women. Plus, the more she learned about menstrual equity, the more it became impossible not to advocate for it.

I was curious about how and when Bif Naked (remember this is the Bif Naked) first got her period. It can be a personal subject, but the question, "Would you care to share your story?" was met with an emphatic, "Oh hell yes!"

Picture this: Bif Naked, a shock of black hair down her back, a backpack hastily slung over one shoulder (ok I added that part for effect, but the rest is all true). Young Bif was in seventh grade, and it was time for phys ed, where they were playing tennis.

"Of course," she says, "I was wearing these white shorts, red stripes on the sides. Adidas made a line of shorts that looked like panties. I can't even believe we wore them! Lo and behold, I got my period."

And here's the thing they don't tell you about your first period: It's not the blue liquid you see in commercials, but it's also not totally red either.

"You think it's going to be a juicy, bright red, like when you cut your finger, but it looked more like I pooped my pants," says Naked.

Poor young Bif thought that's what had happened, and went home to change. When she realized the truth and returned to school, she adds, "I don't think I felt too ashamed. I made a joke about it. Told everyone I'd sat in cake."

The most-perfect-response.

As badass as this all sounds, I would expect nothing less. Bif Naked is a fighter. And she has a lot of thoughts about how the government, businesses and individuals can promote menstrual equity.

"I think [tampons and pads] should just be free. I'm sure there's a lot of companies, who think I don't understand business, but there should be more access for people who can't access them. There are certain things that will enhance lives, and help alleviate mental and emotional stressors," she says.

Naked feels that there should be "mutual syncing," a menstruation-inspired term for how we can help and support one another.

"Uplifting and supporting people in our community should be a shared responsibility," she says.

And again, not to make this about me, but I couldn't agree more.

You can follow Bif Naked on twitter @bifnaked. The Period Purse (@ThePeriodPurse) provides marginalized communities with access to free period products, while working to reduce stigma through education. Read what we're all about on our website.


Posted in:News  

Help Bring Period Products to Toronto's Marginalized Menstruators with The Period Purse's Fall Blitz

Posted by Sarah Niedoba on 10 October 2019

With fall finally here and the weather slowly getting cooler, you may be wondering what you can do to help Toronto's marginalized communities.

It can be an overwhelming question. With so many valuable organizations and causes seeking your donations and support, where do you start?

Often, these conversations can exclude some of the city's most vulnerable members of our community who don't have access to the products they need to experience healthy periods.
What if we could deliver hundreds of products to those who needed them most?

That's exactly what The Period Purse's annual Fall Blitz aims to do.

700 Healthy Periods

What is the Fall Blitz? Every October,  The Period Purse encourages community members to drop off bags and purses full of period products and wellness items to designated locations across the city. Once all the donations have been collected, we hold packing parties to sort, package and deliver the products to people who menstruate who may be in need.

These period packs  are full of menstrual products, cloth pads, wash cloths, new socks and underwear, bar soap, hats, mitts, scarves and treats like chocolate and granola bars. They're delivered across the city, and each contains its own unique motivational note.

Last fall, we packaged an astonishing 700 purses and bags. That's 700 people who were able to experience healthy periods, thanks to the hard work and dedication of people just like you.

How You Can Help

In 2019,  The Period Purse's Toronto Chapters will hold their Fall Blitz programs from October 7 to 28, with packing parties happening on November 9 in Toronto West and November 16 in Toronto East. That's three weeks dedicated to getting the right products to the right people! 

This is what it will look like: For three weeks, local businesses across the city will be home to donation bins that will fill up with much-needed products. Then, volunteers will come together to pack: filling bags and purses for delivery to the city's shelters and centres.

Many groups and organizations choose to work together to make the biggest impact possible. Schools and for-profit companies can run donation collections in their place of work or study, while engagement parties, baby showers and birthdays are the perfect opportunities to ask for product donations in lieu of gifts.

Thinking of hosting an event in the coming month? Consider accepting period products instead of tickets. However you decide to contribute, you'll be joining an enthusiastic group of volunteers who know their work is helping Torontonians experience healthy, dignified periods.

Make A Commitment to Menstrual Equity

The Fall Blitz works best when groups of dedicated volunteers come together to make it happen. While it can be a challenge to balance busy lives and full-time commitments, it is one of the most rewarding experiences you could have this fall.

Even if you've never volunteered for or donated to a Blitz before, it's never too late to start. Talk to your friends and family today about how you can all be a part of this important event.

Drop Off Locations and Hours*

Toronto West (October 7 to 28)

Location Address Hours
The Big Guy's Little Coffee Shop 2861 Lakeshore Blvd W

Mon to Fri: 7:30am-6pm

Sat: 8am-4pm

Sun: 9am-3pm

Master Mechanic High Park 2 Howard Park Ave

Mon to Fri : 8am-6pm

Sat and Sun: Closed

(From October 7 to 18): Arif Virani's Constituency Office 1596 Bloor St W

Mon to Fri: 9:30pm-8pm

Sat: 10am-6pm

Sun: 11am-5pm

Bhutila Karpoche's Constituency Office 2849 Dundas St W

Tues to Fri: 10am-4pm

Mon, Sat and Sun: Closed

Raw Beauty Bar 3830A Bloor St W

Tues to Thurs: 10-9pm

Fri and Sat: 9-6pm

Sun and Mon: Closed

Toronto East (October 7 to 25)

Sprouts Growing Bodies & Minds 183 Carlaw Ave

M to Fri : 9am-6pm

Sat and Sun: 9am-4pm

Might & Main Café 126 Main St

Mon to Fri: 7am-6pm

Sat: 8am-4pm

Sun: 8am-2pm

Oma Chiropractic & Wellness 1 Munro St

Mon to Sat: 8am-7pm

Sun: Closed

Origin Wellness 2017 Danforth Ave

Mon to Fri: 9:30am-9pm

Sat: 9am-4pm

Sun: 12pm-6pm

Mina Drug Store 1474 Kingston Rd

Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri: 9:30-7pm

Wed: 9:30-5:30pm

Sat: 10am-2pm

Sun: 10-11am

Downtown Core

The Yoga Tree 123 Dundas St W

Mon to Fri: 11am-9:15pm

Sat and Sun: 9am-6:15pm

The Yoga Tree 140 Spadina Ave

Mon and Wed: 11:15am-2:45pm

Tues and Thurs: 10:30am-2:45om; 4-9:30pm

Fri: 11am-2:45pm; 4-8:45pm

Sat: 8:30am-4:45pm

Sun: 8:15am-5pm

Toronto North

Little White Sneakers 597 Mount Pleasant Rd

Mon to Sat: 10am-6pm

Sun: 11am-5pm

The Yoga Tree 40 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 800 - 8th floor

Mon: 9:30am-2pm and 4:15-9:30pm

Tues and Thurs: 9:30am-2pm and 4-9:15pm

Wed and  Fri: 9:30am-2pm and 4-7:30pm

Sat: 9am-2:30pm

Sun: 9am-3pm

*Dates, times and locations are subject to change.


Posted in:News  

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