On the second Tuesday of every month, Jack Astor’s on Fanshawe Park Road West hosts a networking event where admission is a donation of feminine hygiene products.
The feminine hygiene products that are donated can be anything from pads to tampons.
Whatever feminine hygiene product is donated goes to the London Food Bank where low income women can get the products they need.
Mandi Fields, the founder of the London chapter of Tampon Tuesday, has met some women who’ve become very desperate to find a way to take care of a basic human need.
“I’ve heard one really horrible story about a young homeless women. She would collect used cigarettes butts, save them, and use some old, brown, scratchy paper towels and make her own tampons. It’s a real issue,” Fields said.
Tampon Tuesdays in London has been going on for almost ten years.
“If this wasn’t an issue, we wouldn’t still be doing this ten years later. I see now all the ground work that we did about ten years ago, and people thought the name was crass. They thought what I was talking about was crass. And now I’m seeing this whole shift,” Fields said.
Typically 60-80 people show up and bring donations. Over 45,000 feminine hygiene products have been donated.
“Often it feels like a summer party. When you come in here, you’re walking into a restaurant with a bag of women’s hygiene products, it’s a bit of an ice breaker too. You feel a bit goofy, but I would say in general, the vibe is always a upbeat,” Fields said.
London is not the only city that has Tampon Tuesdays. There are 36 cities hosting their own Tampon Tuesday. “We don’t tell people how much to spend. There is no fee to arrive it’s just whatever you can give and donate,” Fields said.
Some companies also help contribute to the cause including: Shoppers Drug Mart, Big Blue Bubble, Voices.com, Auto Data and Bell. Jack Astor’s contributes by offering free food to those who attend.
However even with the support of sponsors, Fields said they have only been able to meet the food bank’s need for feminine hygiene products only once, due to an ongoing demand.
“It’s an equity issue, it’s an issue about poverty. So poverty is so shameful or it can be and I know this firsthand experience, I lived at that too. I know that the need is here and the need will never go away,” Fields said. “Sadly, we’ll always have women who live in poverty and we’ll always menstruate. So the need will always be here.”