No Period Without was founded in 2017 when an Edmonton homeless woman asked Scarlet Bjornson for change. Out of curiosity, as Scarlet gave her some money she asked the woman what she planned to spend the money on. The woman replied, “Well truthfully ma’am, I would like to buy some booze, but I need to buy some tampons.” In Scarlet’s words “This hit me like a brick. I went to my car and grabbed my emergency stash of tampons from the car and gave them to her.” She took to social media to ask her friends if anyone was interested in helping with a tampon drive and the response was overwhelming both from those that wanted to help, and from charitable organizations in the city hoping to be a recipient of the donations.
The overwhelming community support and requests for support from local organizations highlighted the ongoing issue of period poverty in Edmonton. It was clear there was a need for continual and consistent support as well as advocacy. This led to the evolution of No Period Without.
How do you see the impact of your organization in the community?
By providing free menstrual hygiene products to key stakeholders like YESS, NPW is able to address period poverty in a meaningful and eliminate the burden of that cost for our beneficiaries. NPW also played a key role in getting free menstrual hygiene products added to City of Edmonton washrooms and continues to advocate for increased access for those experiencing period poverty.
What is one thing you wish the community knew about your purpose for the community that you serve?
NPW believes everyone has the right to a safe and healthy menstrual cycle. Period poverty is also a manifestation of the wage gap, it is more expensive to experience homelessness if you menstruate and one of our goals is to remove that financial burden for those experiencing period poverty.