|Left: Nina Valaitis, SPT and Right: Caroline Lipic, SPT|
SLU PT Students, Caroline Lipic, SPT and Nina Valaitis, SPT Advocate for Menstrual Health
The Menstrual Hygiene Product Drive was organized by Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy students Caroline Lipic, SPT and Nina Valaitis, SPT, both under the guidance of its founder and SLU PT Alumna, Dr. Christina Vivit (SLU DPT Class of 2019). Lipic and Valaitis also partnered with community organizations serving as distribution locations, including the St. Patrick Center and St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies. This initiative was also supported by the SLU Program in Physical Therapy and the SLU Micah Program which stationed on-site collection boxes in their offices.
The drive was a quantitative success. Specifically, they collected 1,588 Tampons; 1,148 pads; 48 liners; 4 bottles of hand sanitizer and 1 pack of personal cleansing wipes. These supplies will go to the needy and underserved in the local region. “Our target population are people in the St. Louis community who have periods but do not have access or funds to purchase and use menstrual products. This includes but is not limited to people who are experiencing homelessness,” writes Caroline Lipic.
Not being able to afford menstrual hygiene products is a widespread problem in the region. Lipic reminds us that “Dr. Anne Sebert Kuhlmann’s research on ‘period poverty’ has shown that ⅔ of low -income STL women can’t afford Tampons or pads.” These products just simply aren’t available through safety net programs, like Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SANPT) “Adequate menstrual hygiene management is not a luxury,” Kuhlmann and her co-authors conclude in the study. “It is a basic need for all women and should be regarded as a basic woman’s right,” continues Kuhlmann.
By spring 2020, the St. Patrick Center will become a full-time distributor of period supplies, along with St. Louis Alliance for Period Supply. This means that the Center will receive and distribute products every month from drives like the one held last March by Lipic and Valaitis, who plan on seeking your support again next year.
DPT students Caroline Lipic and Nina Valaitis would like to acknowledge the generosity behind the donations. They released the following statement thanking all parties involved in the drive’s success: “To all those who came together to support our community members in St. Louis in the 2nd Annual SLU PT Menstrual Hygiene Product Drive, we thank you!“
To find out more about St. Patrick Center, you can locate information on their website: www.stpatrickcenter.org
To find out more about St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies, you can locate information on their website: www.allianceforperiodsupplies.org