Women helping women

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It’s something that many won’t speak of, many don’t think of, and many worry about. Period. Even though female hygiene products are a necessity for many it can take a chunk out of a small budget to be able to buy the monthly supplies.

And Pictou Pharmasave is looking to help women. Period.

The local pharmacy is participating in the Just Ask Program which enables females of all ages to enter the pharmacy and “Just Ask” for a feminine hygiene product.

After hearing of two pharmacies in Halifax that had started offering products for free to those who asked, Leslie Morin thought, why not here? So she approached both Glen Hicks, pharmacy owner, and Karla MacLane, Pictou West MLA, who was happy this community could get on board. Jane Thompson, school nurse, from Northumberland Regional High School, is helping with the program in the schools, knowing that   having free access to feminine hygiene products would make life easier to many.

“We all support the idea that free feminine hygiene products should be in all girls schools washrooms in Nova Scotia,” says Morin.

“She had this idea and asked if we’d be interested in partnering,” said Glen Hicks, pharmacy owner.

“You don’t have to be in a big city to do things,” Morin smiled. “We are calling on the community of all sectors to jump on board by donating money, donating products. If you plan to shop at Pharmasave for these products, they are committed to matching the product. This program is a result in researching this concept and found other programs popping up across our nation in different forms.”

The hygiene products are available there for anyone who needs some and all of the store’s staff are aware of the program so anyone working can assist those interested.

Approached over a year ago by some women from HRM, MacFarlane had the chance to learn more about period poverty.

“I was impressed with some of the facts and information they had,” MacFarlane said.

Since then, she has had the chance to meet women who have to make the choice every month to buy hygiene products or groceries as well as a woman who was caught shoplifting, attempting to steal a box of tampons.

As the critic for the Status of Women in the legislature, MacFarlane had put forward a bill last session to amend the income assistance act to ensure there were extra funds for menstrual products. The bill will have its second reading this fall.