Sioux Falls women raise awareness for period poverty on day of service

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:17 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -While many folks have Martin Luther King J.R. Day off, it’s actually intended to be a day on. In 1994, Congress designated this holiday as a national day of service. Everyone is encouraged to volunteer and give back to their communities.

For 11 years a group of Sioux Falls women called “the Pad Party” have been doing just that. Each year, they hold a menstrual product drive for the Banquet.

It started after Katrina Lehr-McKinney volunteered at the Banquet.

“They told us this story about a woman who didn’t have any menstrual hygiene products. She had just had a baby and she was wearing her baby’s diaper and it just struck me,” said Katrina Lehr-McKinney.

Because of COVID, the group stretched the drive over the span of a week instead of having a Pad Party and collecting products all in one day. They partnered with local organizations as drop off sites. And also collected funds to buy feminine hygiene products.

Monday, January 18th the donations were dropped off at the Banquet.

“Our main ministry is feeding people, but we have so many women who come in and they need these feminine hygiene products. As we all know they are expensive and some women just struggle and it’s something that’s very much needed,” said Tamera Jerke-Liesinger, Executive Director of the Banquet.

The organizers hope to bring more awareness to this, which they call period poverty.

“We want to let people know that menstrual products are an unmet need with women and girls that need financial assistance. And so just getting the word out about that is what’s really important to us,” said Lehr-McKinney.

The women exceeded their expectations, collecting $5,000 and over 50,000 products. Banquet staff says this supply should last almost all year.

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