Imagine this: you’re a single mother, trying to take care of raising your children, keeping them healthy, and keeping them fed. Maybe you’re a refugee that has escaped a war zone to come to Buffalo, or you’re homeless, having just lost your job, and your home. Maybe you’re a woman escaping an abusive partner. Maybe you’re just a woman experiencing a career change, and money hasn’t come easy. In any of these situations, your health is paramount to moving forward with your life, and odds are you’re still going to experience your menstrual cycle every month.
It’s biology. It’s unavoidable. You have to deal with it in a sanitary way.
The clothes on your back might be all that you have. You certainly can’t afford to ruin them. Maybe you receive social assistance. You can’t purchase feminine hygiene products with food stamps, and such products aren’t covered by health insurance, assuming you even have insurance coverage.
This is a monthly reality for thousands of women in Buffalo: how do you afford the products you need to remain healthy, sanitary, and maintain your dignity, when you have to prioritize what little money you might have for other basic necessities
This is the dilemma Stephanie Frary, founder for Buffalo’s Red Party, realized so many women faced, and through this realization, she decided to do something to help.
Last year Frary organized, and held the first annual Red Party to end Period Poverty, with a goal of collecting products, and raising money to benefit the organizations that are on the front line of helping the members of our community that need some assistance while they continue building, or rebuilding their lives here in Buffalo.
“I was on vacation in New Orleans, and met this homeless woman named Angel. She was asking for money because she needed sanitary products, but couldn’t afford them,” Frary recounted while explaining where her inspiration for the Red Party began, “when I came home, I asked friends who work with the homeless community if homeless women had access to such products, and their answer was, no, they really don’t.”
Consider the impact this would have on your life, knowing that your monthly cycle is coming, you don’t have what you need to properly deal with it, and the consequences of not having those products. Consequences which could include missing school for school aged women, having to cancel important appointments such as job interviews, or dealing with your cycle using alternate, less sterile methods, which could lead to infections, and illness.
Last year Period Party raised almost $500, and collected donations of 5100 feminine product items which were donated to six local charities, including:
- Compass House, providing services to runaway, and homeless youths, and teens.
- Jericho Road, providing community based, culturally sensitive medical services for underrepresented communities.
- Journey’s End Refugee Services, providing community services for Buffalo’s growing refugee population.
- Buffalo Peace House, providing housing, and facilitating legal services to the refugee community, and other asylum seekers.
- Haven House, providing services, and safe housing locations to victims of domestic violence.
- Buffalo City Mission, providing safe housing, and other services to Buffalo’s homeless community.
“Our goal this year is to double what was donated last year,” Frary stated, “We’d rather double what we give to the shelters, because giving the products to the shelters is so important.”
The 2019 Red Party to end Period Poverty will be held on Sunday, June 9 from 3:00PM to 6:00PM at Resurgence Brewing Co., 1250 Niagara St., in Buffalo. The entry donation is $20, which also provides two drink tickets, and ten raffle tickets for the donated basket raffle. Other monetary donations, and the donation of feminine products will be graciously accepted at the event, but can also be made through the organization’s Go Fund Me page at dm2.gofund.me/red-party .
Information about the event can be found on Facebook.