Carrying a bag full of groceries in one arm and a package of maxi pads in another, Niskayuna resident Rebecca Lyons stopped and placed the pads in a blue bucket outside the Niskayuna Co-op Friday afternoon.
She was met with thank yous from several people from Schenectady Community Ministries, who along with the Co-op were explaining to shoppers walking by the mission to get menstrual hygiene products for women. It was an idea thought up by two family members, one who worked with the ministries, the other who worked for the Co-op.
General Manager Shannon Risley said what better way to show support for women than by holding the drive during the week of Mother’s Day.
Tom Schofield, the ministries manager of food justice initiatives, said sometimes mothers and other women have to pick between buying food or menstrual products – a choice they shouldn’t have to make.
“We want to show our community members that we value the sacrifice a lot of mothers make for their children,” Schofield said.
The goal was one Lyons was firmly behind, noting anytime she can help someone in need she does. It’s also an item not often thought about for donations, said Schofield.
“They’re expensive,” Lyons noted.
But they’re much needed in the community, Schofield said.
“We always try to make sure we have feminine care products at the pantry,” he said. “Since I’ve been here there’s been a great need.”
He said on average the pantry distributes 1,000 packages a month and every one in three packages includes menstrual products.
Risley said many shoppers have been donating items. Inside the Co-op, one bin sat full of several dozen packages of pads and tampons.
“The community truly always shows up,” she said.