Throughout the month of March, SEIU-West members collected donations of menstrual products, in support of ongoing initiatives to end period poverty. Period poverty describes the struggle faced by women and girls who cannot afford the cost of pads or tampons. 1 in 3 Canadian women have sacrificed an item in their cart to buy pads or tampons.
Donations were collected at each event and will be distributed to Square One Community Inc. Moose Jaw, John Howard Society's My Place Program Moose Jaw, Moose Jaw Transition House, United Way Saskatoon, and Moon Time Sisters. In addition to the in person events, SEIU-West members who work at St. Paul's Hospital, Moose Jaw Home Care, Pioneer Lodge, The Meadows, and Sherbrooke Community Centre collected donations to support this important initiative. Solidarity is a foundational principle of the labour movement, and in the spirit of solidarity our members once again showed their commitment to community.
In addition to the rich, thoughtful, and funny conversations, members shared some resources with us, and in turn we would like to share them with our members. Saskatoon Mothers' Centre is an Indigenous led organization in Saskatoon, connected to an international network of 750 Mothers' Centres worldwide seeking to relieve poverty and the consequences of poverty by providing accessible resources and training to mothers in the core communities of Saskatoon. The Saskatoon Food Bank Clothing Depot provides gently used clothing and shoes, personal hygiene items, diapers, menstrual products, cleaning products, pet food, and more for a very small fee. They update their website as needed with the most requested items for donation. The Saskatoon Friendship Inn Compassion Project collects donations of personal hygiene items, socks, and underwear and offers them to the community. Each of these projects is an important part of our community and together they work to bring dignity, community, and compassion to the people they serve.
Period poverty is an important issue which is faced by people across our province, and within our communities. Large scale solutions might include free menstrual supplies provided in bathrooms in schools, healthcare facilities, and other public buildings. Ensuring that all workers are able to earn a fair wage that provides for the necessities of live and protects the dignity of all would go a long way to ensuring that people who menstruate can afford the most basic personal hygiene items needed to maintain sanitation and health. Unless and until the government is willing to step up and ensure that these basic human needs are met, community will continue to work together to care for those in need and SEIU-West members continue to be part of the solution.