Food banks and period poverty

I know that in England the use of food banks has gone through the roof, even for working families. Wage freezes, high rents and increase in food and utilities costs have really squeezed families. In our church we provide porch boxes and our family contributes when we can as both me and the husband have been poor, so we like to give back where we can. There are baskets in supermarkets where you can leave contributions too. As well as food we have contributed toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. One thing we have never contributed or even thought about until today is sanitary products. I don’t know why. I suppose I assumed people would buy necessities and a see that as a necessity. But then so is food. I don’t really know what I was thinking.

Today I was watching tv and an advert came on for Always sanitary products. It was talking about the importance of school and at the end it did that “buy our products and we will contribute to period poverty so girls don’t miss school” thing. It’s always bothered me that products are taxed because they are “luxury products”, I kid you not. We obviously choose to give in to this need to have periods so have to pay tax! Or are we expected to go back to the days of monthly rags that are washed each time and so hygienic?

I am really bothered by my own ignorance though. How could I, as a woman, not be thinking about what other women need? It never occurred to buy those kind of toiletries but I know about the poverty levels in this country. I know kids are going to school hungry. I know the liberals pushed successfully for free meals for all kids up to year 2 so they at least got one hot meal a day. I know the teachers who take in extra food to feed the ones they know are in dire straits. Now I know about period poverty too. And now I can do something about it.

How can a developed country like ours find money for weapons, wars, bailing out banks, new railways we don’t need, paying to keep the government propped up, yet we can’t pay a living wage? Homelessness is growing, there are no rent controls which puts more families at risk. Working families using food banks. Girls missing schools because they have no money for a tampon. How can this be happening in this day and age. I wonder when the first workhouse will be reopened. Even with all the advances in technology and medicine etc I feel we are going backwards as a nation. The rich/poor divide is huge and just seems to be getting bigger. Those in charge should be ashamed, but they never are. It isn’t them deciding if heat is more important than food this week.