Female volunteer holding a pack of tampons

Periods don’t stop for pandemics. Across the U.S., charitable organizations that help underserved populations gain access to vital menstrual care products are scrambling to help a growing number of people. While the scarcity of toilet paper has become a constant headline in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, what of these other just-as-essential hygiene products? Just as with toilet paper, people need menstrual care products — almost half of the population. When people who can afford it stockpile these products, the homeless and the poor are often going without.

Period Partner, an effort of HOSPECO, regularly donates thousands of menstrual care products to organizations that help the homeless, those living below the poverty line and other people in need. Since its inception, donations have topped more than 648,000 period products. In the face of the current crisis, Period Partner is extending its mission by increasing these donations across a variety of national organizations with the greatest reach, announces HOSPECO in a press release. The goal is simple: to get these vital products to the people who use them, now in their greatest time of need.

In response to the pandemic, donations totaled more than 105,000 products - in March and April alone - to Femme Aid Collaborative, Ohio; I Support the Girls, Indiana and Maryland; and the Homeless Period Project, South Carolina.

Erin Carey, assistant director of mission advancement for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, says  Femme Aid Collaborative is a gift to the Dayton, Ohio St. Vincent de Paul community.

“We sheltered over 1,000 women in 2019 and Femme Aid helped ensure that each guest had access to appropriate feminine hygiene products,” says Carey. “We are blessed to have a partner that provides such an important necessity for those we serve.”

The unprecedented run on paper products is putting pressure on retail stores to leave the most financially vulnerable members of the population at a loss when it comes to fulfilling their basic hygienic needs, says Bill Hemann, HOSPECO’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

“We stand for the idea that menstrual care products are a necessity, not a luxury,” says Hemann. “We consider it part of our mission to step up at this time and help fill this critical need.”

Period Partner leads the conversation about universal access to menstrual care solutions in public restrooms, treating them as the necessities they are, just like soap, toilet paper, and paper towels. HOSPECO, a maker of hygiene, safety, and cleaning products for the away-from-home market, founded and supports the initiative, believing that it is long past time for these necessary hygiene products to be treated as essential.