Menstrual Equity Fund

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Menstrual Equity Fund

Did you know 1 in 6 Canadians who menstruate experience period poverty?

A man and woman wearing red North York Harvest hats smile with arms crossed in front of a large stack of menstrual products in a warehouse.

At North York Harvest, menstrual products are something our clients are always asking about, as far too many have to choose between buying these products or having enough food to eat.

We are proud to have participated in Food Banks Canada’s Menstrual Equity Fund, which is a collaboration across industry partners, including other food banks, with funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada.

The pilot aimed to provide products to diverse, low-income communities across the country while raising awareness of menstrual equity and reducing stigma about menstruation.

Through this pilot, over 48 million period product units were delivered across participating food banks in Canada, reaching more than 2 million individuals.

Across our network, we have received 2,500 boxes of these products to ensure those who need them most will receive them.

“A lot of our families right now, when you have two or three members of your household who need these products – it gets incredibly expensive,” says Nisha Joshi, Manager of our Albion Community Food Space.

Albion serves about 700 clients each month, and Nisha says when people first saw them on the shelf they were really happy to have menstrual products available.

A woman wearing a red North York Harvest hat stands smiling outside in front of a brightly painted shipping container“Even during times when we had what I’d call high-value household items like toothpaste, toilet paper and other household things people are really looking for, clients were still taking the Maxi pads,” Nisha says.

“Because it’s something they need and it’s something that’s so incredibly expensive right now.”

At current prices, a box of menstrual pads is about $8-10. After paying rent and utilities, food bank users in Toronto have a median of $6.67 left per day for all other necessities, according to our 2023 Who’s Hungry report.

Through this pilot, we were able to ease the cost burden on so many clients in our community so they could use those funds for other necessities.

Thank you to the following product and distribution vendors, and education and advocacy partners for making this pilot possible: Joni, McKesson Canada, Always Tampax, Edgewell Personal Care, Aisle, Only, Marlow, Oko Creations, Knix, The Period Purse, Moon Time Connections, Free Periods Canada, Monthly Dignity, Project Aim, and Help A Girl Out.

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