For the first time, Orange Coast College’s Planned Parenthood: Generation Action Club and the Feminist Club are co-hosting a drive for feminine hygiene products and they are accepting all donations of all types.
“There is a need in the community and it’s not something we think about very often as privileged people who aren’t struggling with economic issues, but if you are it is something that becomes very apparent to you,” Lauren Hodge, a 19-year-old psychology major and Planned Parenthood: Generation Action Club president said. “Menstrual products are very expensive and there’s even a luxury tax on them.”
In Orange County, there is a luxury tax on menstrual products so on average, a box of tampons can cost up to $7.
The clubs are still deciding on where they are going to donate all of the products they receive. They are accepting pads, tampons, Diva Cups or any type of menstrual cup, reusable period underwear or cloth pads.
According to Hodge, if people are willing to spend a little more money, it’s preferable to get the menstrual cups or the cloth pads because of the lesser environmental impact, which is something they want to take into account. Lesser waste tampons and pads are also ideal.
“If it’s something you can wash, there is a big problem with homeless people and dealing with menstrual product waste because where do they dispose of that. It becomes a problem when you don’t have a space and it can become a problem with the litter in their area,” Hodge said.
One of the donation spots that the clubs are aiming for is the Pirates’ Cove food pantry. Allison Cuff, a student resource specialist for the Pirates’ Cove on campus, said the need of feminine hygiene products is huge on campus alone.
The Cove staff asks for donations of these products from people on campus and as also gets deliveries from its partners.
“We received a large amount of menstrual products from a partner a couple months ago and now it is almost gone. We make sure to always have them and that it is something we always have and don’t run out of,” Cuff said. “They are always in stock.”
These specific products are taken from the Cove as soon as they have more in stock and everyday there is always a different person coming in to get what they need, according to Cuff.
Cuff also said that people are unaware of the need for these products because people aren’t very conscious of what others need.
“I don’t think it’s something that we as a society prioritize and I think it’s a phallogocentric kind of mindset where we just prioritize male-based issues and it’s not something we think about because it involves women or people with organs that produce menstrual blood,” Hodge said. “Girls are always hiding their tampons, hiding their pads and hiding their products because it’s something there’s a lot of shame around.”
The clubs are also looking to donate some of the products to local homeless shelters or local women’s shelters because, according to Hodge, they are looking for places where the need is strong.
The president of the Feminist Club on campus, Ashley Hormaza, is also involved in the drive as a co-host. She and Hodge had been talking about co-hosting an event together for a while until they decided to run a menstrual product drive to help out low income areas and women in need of access to these types of products.
According to Hormaza, she and others involved in the club are trying to bring education and awareness to people’s lives and also creating change through the product drive.
“It’s important to help out people who can’t afford things that we usually take for granted,” Hormaza said.
Donation boxes are located all around campus. They will be taking donations until May 7 and they will continue to have the boxes out until the end of the semester in case more people want to donate.