MassBay Community College To Provide Free Menstrual Care Products To Students

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FRAMINGHAM – MassBay Community College is partnering with Framingham-based Dignity Matters to provide free period products to students in need.

“Period poverty” (or the inability to afford or access menstrual care products) is a growing issue among homeless and disadvantaged women and girls, exacerbated here in Massachusetts by the high cost of living and financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent study by Kotex, more than two in five people who have periods have struggled to purchase menstrual care products; between 2018 and 2021, that number increased by 35%. The study also found one-third (35%) of people who menstruate have had to miss events or activities in the last year – such as work, school, or an appointment – due to lack of access to period products.

Dignity Matters is a non-profit organization that collects, purchases, and supplies menstrual care products, bras, and underwear to women and girls who are homeless or in need. These products help them stay healthy, go to work and school without interruption, regain self-confidence, and live with basic dignity. 

“The cost of feminine products is often a hidden burden for women and girls,” said Elizabeth Blumberg, Psy.D., MassBay Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students. “We are proud to partner with Dignity Matters to provide some assistance to MassBay students who struggle with the financial cost of these vital health care products. This program is truly making a difference in their lives.”

Free menstrual care products provided by Dignity Matters have been made available in the women’s restrooms on all three MassBay campuses in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland. Students are encouraged to take the products as needed, or to take what they need to manage their entire period with dignity. Dignity Matters will replenish supplies as needed throughout the fall semester.

“Financial aid covers tuition, books, and housing, but not hygiene items. You can’t purchase menstrual care with Food Stamps/SNAP either, so students literally have no other way to afford these products,” says Kate Sanetra-Butler, Founder and Executive Director of Dignity Matters. “Recent studies estimate that as many as 12% of students at state and community college in Massachusetts are homeless, and many more are living in poverty. Some of them have overcome incredible barriers just to get to college, and we can’t let period poverty be the one that holds them back.”


This initiative is led by MassBay’s Student Nourishment And Care Committee (SNACC), which is a group of staff, faculty, students, and community volunteers who are dedicated to eliminating basic need barriers that are obstacles to student success.


editor

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