In the past few years, the issue known as period poverty has gained awareness nationwide. Here in Hudson County, menstruating people are often left either financially burdened by purchasing period supplies, unable to afford supplies, or lacking easy access in a time of need. A young Hoboken resident is helping to combat this issue here in the Mile Square. Adele Tanini, 16, is a student at Covenant of the Sacred Heart High School in New York who has taken her most recent Girl Scouts project to support her community. The Hoboken Girl sat down with Adele to understand how this project got started and its goal. Read on to learn more about Adele’s local period supply drive, who it’s benefitting, and how to get involved.
Noticing a Problem
Adele is a 16-year-old high school student who is active in her community. She is currently a member of a local Girl Scout troop. Because of her love of being involved in the community, she is aware of the needs of those around her. Even during her freshman year of high school, she noticed that her peers were struggling with what seemed to be a simple issue to solve. “During my first year of high school at Sacred Heart, I noticed that if girls didn’t have period products with them, they had to go out of their way to ask school administrators for access to them,” Adele shared with HG.
Going through body changes is a natural part of growing up, especially during middle school and high school years. Despite this process happening to every person, menstruation tends to have a negative stigma attached to it. This stigma is further exacerbated by the need to ask for access to period supplies while in school. According to the National Institute of Health, up to 25% of menstruating people have an irregular cycle during the first two years of menstruating, making predictability and preparation nearly impossible. “There was a lot of embarrassment [when asking for products] that shouldn’t be there as having periods is a natural, biological function,” said Adele.
After noticing what was happening to her peers when they needed period supplies, Adele brought the issue to the school’s Feminism Club. “As part of my Feminism Club, we advocated for the school administration to put period products in the Upper and Middle School bathrooms to provide access as well as to destigmatize and normalize using them,” Adele shared. The club’s request was approved and both the middle and upper schools provided period supplies.
Adele wanted to take this mission further. “This gave me the idea to do something on a broader scale to help my community not only have access but to help lessen the stigma of having a period and needing products during it,” she continued. This is how her current project was born.
Seeing how impactful a small change can be, Adele is now setting her sights on supporting even more people in her community. According to Jersey City-based non-profit, The Flow Initiative, one in three menstruating people in Hudson County struggle to afford period supplies. Enter, Adele’s drive. In partnership with the City of Hoboken Office of Constituent Services, Adele is running a period product drive through March 15th. Those who want support are encouraged to bring unopened packages of period supplies to any drop-off locations listed below. Items needed include pads and tampons (all sizes), panty liners, and wipes. The products will create a reserve that will be used to supply local city buildings.
Creating this drive was no small feat. Adele credits a supportive community and knowledge from those who have supported similar efforts in the past to getting her idea off the ground. “For me, the most challenging part was figuring out where to start — who to contact, how to get businesses involved, how to draft a broader plan. Luckily, Hoboken Councilwoman Emily Jabbour has become a mentor who helped guide me through the specifics and put me in touch with folks at city hall as well as local businesses and sites like Hoboken Girl,” Adele said.
Supplies are being collected during business hours at these Hoboken businesses through March 15th:
- Alba Boutique | 716 Washington Street
- a X d Boutique | 503 Washington Street
- bwè kafe | 1002 Washington Street
- Hidden Grounds Coffee | 700 Garden Street
- Hoboken City Hall | 94 Washington Street
- Prime Cycle + Body | 82 River Street, 2nd Floor
Donations can also be made through the Amazon Wishlist here and will be shipped directly to Adele’s desired address.
“I hope to provide access to period products to those who need them as well as to work on the normalization of these products and periods more broadly,” Adele said about what she hopes to accomplish with this drive. Head to any of the drop-off locations to support this mission and move closer to ending period poverty.