LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Lansing-based organization is calling on state leaders to help put menstrual products in school districts throughout Michigan.
The executive director of Helping Women Period says funding for the group’s pilot project will help protect student health and put an end to what they call “period poverty.”
“One in four girls and people who menstruate in public schools in Michigan miss school because they don’t have the products they need when they need them,” said Helping Women Period Executive Director, Lysne Tait said.
Helping Women Period is a nonprofit that works to get people menstrual health products at no cost. The group has been working with the state Senate on a pilot project.
Here’s how it works: If a student qualifies for free or reduced lunch programs, they would also be able to get free feminine hygiene products.
“If people don’t have the products that they need, they’re gonna use things like socks or T-shirts or they’ll use the products they do have for longer than medically required and that leads to infection,” Tait said.
Every month, funding from this project would support the supply of at least 20 tampons or menstrual pads for eligible students.
Tait said each district within six counties, including Eaton County would get $1 million to buy products for students–a boost, she says, to both their mental and physical health.
“Anyone who’s had a period has had that time in their life where they didn’t have the products they need when they need them, and they felt that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach because they can’t take care of themselves,” she said.
Tait said the project is included in the Senate, but not the House budget, and she plans to negotiate that difference to get the project fully funded.
She believes this move is a step toward improving the lives of many in Michigan.
“If we can help those people who are the most vulnerable with these products when they need them, especially when in school when there’s all this other stuff to worry about, I think it’ll just make everyone better.”