HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG) - Something that many women use once a month isn't always accessible: pads and tampons.
The Hiawatha Public Library is working to help women in the Cedar Rapids area who need feminine hygiene products through its "Positively Periods" drive. (MARY GREEN/KCRG)
Women who may have lower incomes still get periods, but they don't always have the means to get the needed supplies.
Government grocery-assistance programs, like WIC and SNAP, don't cover these supplies, and Iowa is one of 35 states that currently tax feminine hygiene products.
The Hiawatha Public Library is working to help women in the Cedar Rapids area who need these products through its "Positively Periods" drive, which started Oct. 16 and runs until Nov. 30.
The library is collecting new boxes of tampons and pads, which it will then donate to Willis Dady Homeless Services and the Catherine McAuley Center.
The Catherine McAuley Center distributes these products to women staying in its transitional housing and to refugee families it helps.
Its housing program manager, Jennifer Tibbetts, said sometimes women who don't have access to tampons and pads miss work, school or other educational opportunities when they have their periods.
She said donations like these also help women from having to make tough financial decisions.
"That decision is, do I buy these items that are going to help me be able to have a healthy and productive life, or am I going to have to use this money for something else for my family?" Tibbetts said.
Anyone who wants to give can drop donations off at the Hiawatha Public Library's main desk, at its location at 150 W. Willman Street.