Did someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here, for free!

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022

Around half the people reading this newsletter will intimately understand the total panic of being on your period — and not having a pad. What you may not know is that many children in this country have this experience while they’re at school almost every month. There’s even a name for it: period poverty.

Read more about period poverty from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

What local news matters most to you?

We want to hear from you. Our 2022 audience survey is essential to our planning and helps us be sure we are serving you as we grow. It takes five minutes or less.

Period poverty is often talked about in impoverished countries where women have no access to menstrual supplies and struggle to fully function during menstruation. But it happens here, too. There are children who attend school in Charlottesville and Albemarle County whose parents can’t afford period products, leaving them in embarrassing and stressful situations every month. Unsurprisingly, these children are more likely to miss school during their periods, leading to achievement gaps and diminished educational outcomes, studies show.

So in 2020, Virginia’s legislature decided it would try to put a stop to period poverty during the school day by passing a law requiring schools that teach anyone older than 11 to supply free period products in bathrooms. Ours is the fifth state to adopt such a law.

Here’s more about access to free pads and tampons in American schools from NPR.

Still, schools often struggle to keep bathrooms stocked. In Albemarle County, for example, the district does not have a system to monitor period products, instead relying on students to notify the office when they run out, said Phil Giaramita, a spokesperson for Albemarle County Public Schools. The district is working on creating a better system, he added.

Stacks of period products sit on a hardwood floor
Credit: Photo courtesy of Sarah Harris

After learning that Albemarle was struggling to stock period products, a local mom took matters into her own hands

In the meantime, one local mom is hoping to help. After hearing from various parents that their children couldn’t access products in Albemarle bathrooms, Sarah Harris launched a drive to purchase and donate pads and tampons to all county high schools, middle schools and (she hopes) elementary schools. She’s raised more than $1,000 so far and purchased dozens of supplies.

On a different topic, we’ve got some really great news to share today!

Charlottesville Tomorrow awarded two-year, $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in support of expanding capacity for local news

Charlottesville Tomorrow is joining the individuals and organizations that receive support from the Ford Foundation with the receipt of a two-year, $200,000 grant under the Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression program.

Check your inboxes tomorrow for a just-for-subscribers note about what this investment in local news means for our organization and our community.

Thanks for reading!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

In service to our local businesses and organizations, we are now offering newsletter sponsorship packages. Your message and logo, or a banner image, will be shared with 9500+ subscribers monthly (12 newsletters).
Find out more here.

Our sponsors

Jessie Higgins

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.