WESTFIELD, NJ - A recent graduate of Westfield high school and student at Colby College, along with her friend from Summit, are addressing an inequity in the distribution of menstrual products that has been worsened by the pandemic.
Linzy Rosen, of Westfield, and Diya Khullar, a recent Northeastern University graduate from Summit, are leading a menstrual product drive benefiting women at organizations for people experiencing homelessness and a also a correctional facility serving Union and Essex counties, Rosen said.
“While there have been widespread efforts to tackle PPE shortages and food insecurity during the pandemic, one missing piece of the local and national dialogue has been menstruation,” Rosen said. “Menstrual equity is the right of every menstruator to have access to the period products they need.”
Due to pervasive job loss, healthcare needs and the inability for facilities to allocate adequate funds for menstrual products, homeless shelters and prisons are in grave need of the items, she said.
“Tampons and pads are essential health items often overlooked due to their stigma,” Rosen said by email. “We are hoping to change that.”
In May, Khullar had launched the “Menstrual Products for Jersey” initiative. She started a Facebook page and partnering with several organizations. Rosen then brought Westfield on board.
“I teamed up to collect products in Westfield and garner small-dollar donations from my community. In just the past 3.5 weeks, we have collected and ordered a cumulative total of 232 panty liners, 6,823 pads and 662 tampons,” she said recently.
The organizers are using all the financial donations to order menstrual products, placing the orders every other week to minimize the environmental impact, Rosen said.
Donations benefit to Family Promise of Union County, the Essex County Correctional Facility, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless and GRACE - Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community's Essentials.
For small-dollar contributions, the organizers ask that community members send their contribution via the Venmo platform; the username is @MenstrualProductsForNJ.
If a check is preferred, email Diya Khullar at firstname.lastname@example.org and specify which of the four organizations you would like to donate to. Individuals may also donate directly to the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless at this link.