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New Dispensers in Libraries Address Period Poverty

Washington County Free Library, the Washington County Health Department, and Meritus Health Address Period Poverty with Free Sanitary Supplies Dispensers 

Washington County Free Library, the Washington County Health Department, and Meritus Health are thrilled to announce a partnership to make freely accessible sanitary supplies available in library restrooms throughout Washington County.  

Specialty dispensers from Aunt Flow, a woman-owned company founded with the intention of addressing period poverty, will be stocked with 100% organic tampons and pads. This is part of a national movement to address inequity of access to needed sanitary supplies and to decrease the taboo nature around the natural body function of menstruation.  

“Period poverty is a real concern impacting the wellness of our community and can be described as a major issue in reproductive health and hygiene. Appropriate period products are often out of reach for our most vulnerable community members, including students and those in food insecure homes,” explains Jenny Bakos, Executive Director of Washington County Free Library. “We at WCFL hope that providing these products in our restrooms helps alleviate one less stress for those visiting our institution and brings us one step closer as a country to destigmatize critical hygiene products for all people.” 

Library leadership approached community partners after learning about the installation of Aunt Flow dispensers in several libraries across the nation. The Washington County Health Department has dedicated the funding to ensure improved access to these supplies. 

“Communities that collaborate to improve the health of all are communities that thrive in all ways—we are that kind of community,” shares Dr. Douglas Spotts, Meritus Health Chief Health Officer. Collaboration in the community on wellness initiatives has already shown impressive results as Meritus Health’s Go for Bold campaign has already reached its midpoint goal of 50,000 pounds lost by Washington County residents! 

WCFL and the Health Department collaborated in 2020 and 2021 as library staff distributed at-home Covid-19 test kits and KN95 masks from branches throughout the county to help ensure accessibility to needed health supplies. 

Community members who menstruate are encouraged to take only what they need from Aunt Flow dispensers in branch library restrooms so there are plenty of period products to go around.