The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The Rotary Club of Redwood City spotlights menstrual health

Sarah La Torra
Through their donation drive, the Redwood City Rotary Club is collecting menstrual products to distribute to the community.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Rotary Club of Redwood City decided to shine a light on menstrual health by hosting a donation drive for feminine hygiene products.

This donation drive gifts all donated products to the Redwood City Public Library’s Teen Center along with Project Read for distribution to the community. 

“In partnership with the Teen Center and Project READ, we hope to provide access to our community members,” said Sarah La Torra, the past president of the Redwood City Rotary Club. “The Teen Center is open six days a week and serves teens from all parts of our community, and Project READ provides weekly grocery distribution to over 100 families, making them both ideal partners to work with.”

By hosting this event, the Rotary Club hopes to address menstrual inequity, an issue that is mainly caused by overpriced tampons, pads, and other menstrual products that fill store shelves. According to Bloomberg, in 2021, the prices for pads rose 8.3%, and the prices for tampons rose 9.8%.

“The cost of menstrual products is very high,” La Torra said. “Some of our community members have to decide between purchasing food for their families and purchasing menstrual products. The effects of period poverty are severe, and that’s why we want to help.”

Pullquote Photo

The effects of period poverty are severe, and that’s why we want to help.

— Sarah La Torra

Period poverty, a term that refers to a lack of access to menstrual products, is an issue that affects people in a variety of ways, including emotionally, mentally, and physically.

For example, when women cannot purchase the products they need, in many cases, they feel unable to go to school, attend work, or otherwise participate in daily life. 

“The effects of period poverty cannot be overstated,” said Amy Harvey, the chief community relations officer for Open Door Mission, an organization dedicated to aiding those in poverty. “When menstrual products are inaccessible, women quickly see how that lack of access impacts their lives in all respects.”

The Rotary Club intends to resolve the harm that comes with inaccessibility to menstrual products. Whether it is school absences due to the need to tend to periods at home, health risks that come with high healthcare costs, or an inability to work, which results in lost income for families, the harmful impact of menstrual inequity is difficult to dismiss, which is why the Rotary Club strives to provide access to these products for as many of its community members as possible.

“The Redwood City Public Library is already working with a large population of teen girls and women in the community,” said LaShonda Kennedy, the Redwood City Rotary Club president. “They are an ideal partner to help distribute products to our more vulnerable community members.”

While this donation drive offers the typical disposable pads and tampons that most people use, it also seeks donations of reusable products to provide as many options as possible. 

“Period underwear can not only help a woman during her period but for women that may have urinary issues, this product can be used throughout the month,” La Torra said. “For some, period underwear and cups may be financially out of reach, so we hope to provide this as an alternative for women because we want to provide women with choice in what is appropriate for them to use.”

Although the Rotary Club started this donation drive in honor of Women’s History Month, its intentions go beyond celebrating this month, for its primary goal is to shine a light on menstrual health on a community-wide level. 

“For those in our community that need to decide between paying rent, purchasing groceries, daycare costs, and other expenses, we hope our drive can ease your troubles,” La Torra said. “This donation drive intends to not only place products in the hands of community members but also to raise awareness about menstrual equity.”

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About the Contributor
Naomi Hsu, Staff Writer
Naomi Hsu (Class of 2026) is excited to begin her first year as a news writer for the Scot Scoop. In her free time, she enjoys dancing with her Carlmont Dance Team members and participating in mock trial.

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