High school students collect pads, tampons for Edmonton food bank

A course requirement quickly turned into a passion project for three girls at Old Scona Academic School.

While volunteering at Edmonton’s Food Bank, now-Grade 12 students Bayan Shayeb, Elina Ajamian and Vaidya Golthi noticed the small amount of menstrual products available to those in need.

The few that were available were added to hampers in pairs, by request. 

“Any of these few products that we put in were not enough to cover an entire menstrual cycle,” Ajamian told CBC’s Radio Active. 

“We looked into this a bit more and we saw that it is actually a prevalent issue in North America.”

Seeing the gap, the girls first worked with Holy Trinity Anglican Church to collect products for the food bank.

Their efforts have since become known as The Flow Project.

Shayeb said the group hadn’t expected to get as many products as they did.

“It really just showed me the power a community has when everyone kind of works toward a common goal and everyone does their own little part,” Shayeb said.

Shayeb said the initial collection had a huge impact, adding that it ensured a few people didn’t have to worry about where their next pad or tampon would be coming from. 

“We realized there were a lot of people in the community who have experienced poverty,” Jamian said.

Four women sitting around a table in a radio studio, with microphones and computers.Old Scona Academic students told CBC’s Radio Active about The Flow Project. (Submitted by Elina Ajamian)

She said while collecting products in the Magrath community in the southwest part of the city, people would come out to tell the girls their own struggles with affording menstrual products. 

“There are people from all backgrounds that are facing this issue,” Jamian said. 

Golthi said she is happy to see Edmonton Public Schools take an active approach to the issue by making menstrual products accessible to students inside schools. 

“What we were hoping to do is have a wider-reaching arm into our communities,” she said. 

“A lot of public washrooms don’t have period products that they offer for free, which is another kind of barrier.”

Since they started last year, The Flow Project has grown and expanded to Calgary. Both branches are now working with local businesses like yoga studios and cafés to collect menstrual products.

They have also started selling pins and prints to raise money. 

Earlier this year a national pilot program was launched to give Food Banks Canada $17.9 million in federal funding to give pads and tampons to low-income people.

Menstrual Equity is part of a government initiative to reduce the cost of menstrual products.

Originally Appeared Here

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