200,000 people in Westchester County, New York rely on food donations from food pantries. 914 Cares, a non-profit organization, is on a mission to help people in poverty today. Jessica Reinmann, CEO of 914 Cares, recognizes that homelessness and food insecurity are not solved with just “shelter and food.” To support the community, a holistic offering of basic necessities is required – this includes menstrual products.
Offering tampons and pads to menstruators living at or below the poverty line is critical in Westchester County. In The United States, menstrual products (feminine hygiene products) are not covered by food stamps or WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). The average woman will use about 240 tampons a year, which comes out to about $50 each year with tax. This average cost for menstrual products is on the low-end, not including additional period supplies like Midol, menstrual pads, menstrual cups, underwear, and dietary supplements.
According to 914 Cares, 51,000 households have an income of $24k or less per year in the county. Although Westchester is the second wealthiest county in New York State, 26% of residents are living in poverty since COVID. In 2018 New York State passed legislation requiring middle and high schools to offer menstrual products in school bathrooms. Due to COVID-19, many students no longer have access to this sustainable supply of menstrual products at schools – and 13% of youth under 18 are living in poverty in Westchester.
914 Cares listened to their community and responded to the dire need for menstrual care products. Spearheaded by Jessica Reinmann, CEO and Marjorie Troob, Program Director, 914 Cares has partnered with Aunt Flow to solve period poverty in Westchester County.
Starting March 2021, 914 Cares will be putting together 600 “Flow Kits” per month, stocked with Aunt Flow’s 100% organic cotton tampons and pads. Aunt Flow was founded in 2018 and developed a free-vend tampon and pad dispenser for businesses and schools to sustainably offer menstrual products in public bathrooms.
The Flow Kits will be distributed to the greater Westchester community. In addition to the period programming, 914 Cares offers a variety of other services including:
- Library (literacy program) 15k books donated
- Kid’s Closet (NB-18yo)
- Baby Bank (6 mo. program, products for infants NB-2yo)
- Diaper Bank (weeks worth of diapers and wipes) 50k diapers/month.
- Period Project – 600 kits/month