For years on end, there have been stereotypes and labels surrounding the incredibly natural human process which is the menstrual cycle. The fight to put the stigmas to rest is an ongoing effort led by many.

The Fairfield Reproductive Rights Talk and Action Group (RRTAG) and the Connecticut Young Women Rising campaign encourage students, faculty and staff to help raise awareness and gather supplies for women currently living in shelters and safe houses who lack the necessary resources to obtain these items.

According to the leaders of the Connecticut branch of Young Women Rising, homeless women live in constant fear of receiving their menstrual cycles because they cannot afford to buy feminine hygiene products. However, due to many stereotypes surrounding periods, many members of our society are often indifferent toward the human process.

Sophomore Allison Coffey discussed how the drive can help remind us to not take these necessities for granted.

“I think it’s a really important cause that we often neglect because many of us can afford it. If I was in that same situation as any of those women I would be so incredibly grateful for the donation,” said Coffey.

“Every female, at some point of their lives will get their period. It is high time the feminine care products are made affordable and available for all those who need them,” said supporter Maggie Willerup ‘17.

The RRTAG has been running the drive since Feb. 1 and it will run until March 1.

Co-President of the RRTAG Abigayel Phillips ‘17 wants students to understand that this donation drive is a great way to support local communities.

“Our club encourages students, faculty and staff to donate to this drive to help lift the taboo around periods and to learn about how these hygiene products can be essential to the health, well-being and dignity of menstruating humans,” continued Phillips.

According to Phillips, the two nonprofit organizations that will be receiving the products are Janus House in Bridgeport, a center for homeless youth in crisis and Project Return, a Westport based home for girls.

Secretary of the RRTAG Erin Monahan ‘18 feels that women should have full and untaxed access to feminine hygiene products.

“There’s this idea that pads and tampons are luxuries and here in the state of Connecticut, they are taxed as such. This drive is so important because females in poverty or females that are homeless not only can’t afford to pay for these products, but they are also put at a significant health risk when they don’t have access,” said Monahan.

Students are encouraged to drop off products such as unopened boxes of menstrual pads, tampons and baby diapers to the Barone Campus Center Information Desk until Feb. 21, McAuliffe Hall and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies office at Donnarumma 115 (open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

“The lack of access to feminine hygiene products is a social justice issue and hopefully our pads, tampons and baby diaper drive will give social justice to these people,” continued Monahan.

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