MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A partnership between the United Way, Kindness Closet, Well-Equipped Period, Iredell-Statesville Schools, and Mooresville Graded School District addresses a widespread issue not often discussed: period poverty.
Starting a menstrual period is a coming of age every young girl’s experiences, but it’s not an equal experience for everyone. A nurse with Mooresville Graded School District says more than ten students each week come into her office for sanitary products.
Anne Mautner, the founder of Mooresville Kindness Closet, says one in four students don’t have the products they need regularly.
“I realized that this period of poverty, it’s basically this quiet, massive problem,” she said. “It basically broke my heart so much that I was like, I’ve got to figure something out.”
Mautner found the Red Cart Project, started by the United Way in Oregon. She made some calls, set up meetings, and ultimately formed the project in three Mooresville Graded School Districts and three Iredell-Statesville schools.
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The carts in school bathrooms are filled with sanitary pads that are free for anyone to take.
“It’s a little scary, honestly. You never know if you’re going to bleed through in class, and you need to walk all the way to the nurse’s office to get a pad,” said Mooresville High School student Sadie Intihar. “Every Friday, we refill the carts with pads, and I’ve seen carts that are already empty.”
The project not only reduces the stigma and possible embarrassment surrounding periods but keeps students in class.
“Whenever you have a student who needs to leave the classroom due to needing period products, especially on a campus as large as Mooresville High School, they have to walk to wherever that might be,” said Mooresville Graded School District Communications Director Tanae McLean.
Mautner says the project is a small step forward in a larger fight to provide more access to hygiene products.
“They’re not covered by any benefits, they’re expensive, and they’re getting more expensive,” said Mautner.
Donations to the Red Cart Project can be made to the United Way of Iredell County by clicking here.
More information on the project can be found at mooresvillekindnesscloset.org or by emailing redcartNC@gmail.com.