Are You There Mandi Fields? It’s Me, Digital Echidna

Family budget on chalkboard

Inspired by several other local businesses and organizations, we have committed to the 2019 United Way Tampon Tuesday campaign. This means, over the month of March, Digital Echidna will be collecting donations from the staff of pads, tampons, and other period-related products to give to London Food Bank.

We are pleased to be part of this concentrated effort to help women who rely on food banks every month have access to period products. In this community alone, that represents people from approximately 3,600 families.

Why? Because menstrual products are one of the most-requested yet least-donated items at food banks. The fact is that if you are female, this is not some luxury item you can cut out of your budget so you can buy more food. You are going to need these products every month, from the time you are about 11 years old until well into your 50s. You can give up a lot to get by, but not this.

The only shame to this talk of menses is admitting we are late to this particular party: It has been 10 years since local Bell Media personality Mandi Fields founded Tampon Tuesday and started to raise awareness about this subject.

At the inaugural Tampon Tuesday event that she organized, only six people attended. Undeterred, she continued to host events, charging one box of tampons as cover. She began inviting local luminaries including the Mayor, Members of Parliament, and business leaders to speak at events and serve as ambassadors. Awareness grew and word of the event began to spread. Thanks to her and her posse of champions, in the last decade over 60,000 boxes of feminine hygiene products have been donated to the cause.

Today, Tampon Tuesday is Canada-wide and product drives are supported locally by United Way, Labour United, and GenNext. And that is how we came on board this year - as members of United Way GenNext.

If you are interested in starting your own collection, I encourage you to contact your local United Way or GenNext group to learn more or to simply attend a Tampon Tuesday event.

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask and you will receive. I am Digital Echidna’s GenNext ambassador so I volunteered to clear out a small corner of my office to store staff donations. This is our first year and we weren’t sure what volume to expect -- after all, this subject doesn’t resonate with everyone. Well, we started our collection on Friday, the first of March -- four days ago -- and already I am running out of space.

That makes me feel so good that I had to end this post about periods with an exclamation mark!

Questions Answered

What is Tampon Tuesday? Why do people donate pads to a food bank?