The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.

Achieving Independence

Junior League of Baltimore Partners with Catholic Charities to Combat PeriodPoverty

By Mark Cheshire

To help alleviate the impact of what’s known as “period poverty,” the Junior League of Baltimore made the first in a series of planned deliveries of related hygiene items to Catholic Charities shortly before the global observance of Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28. Period poverty is understood as the inability to afford and access menstrual products and it is a significant challenge that affects millions of women around the world.

The fundraising drive is the brainchild of the Junior League’s incoming class of new members. As part of the matriculation process, every new cohort conceives and conducts a campaign to address a social issue of their choosing.

Three women stand beside each other in front of a stack of women's packaged hygienic products.
From left to right: Three members of the Junior League of Baltimore – president-elect Marla Johnson and new class members Cassandra Morecroft King and Andrea Moore – delivered a sizable donation of menstrual hygiene products to Catholic Charities.

The Junior League’s Spring 2024 new-member class is focusing on period poverty, one of three focus areas for the League, and decided on a fundraising drive using “We instantly aligned around period poverty for our project,” said Cassandra Morecroft King, one of the 11 women who make up the cohort.

According to a report by the National Institutes of Health:

  • Approximately 16.9 million menstruating women in the United States live in poverty;
  • Two-thirds these women are low-income, food-insecure, and cannot afford basic menstrual products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual products;
  • Difficulty affording menstrual products can cause women and girls to stay home from work and school, with lasting consequences on their economic and education opportunities; and
  • Period poverty is associated with a higher likelihood of symptoms consistent with depression and urinary tract infections.

“Given the widespread and significant consequences of period poverty, we came to a consensus to focus on the issue in our very first meeting,” said Andrea Moore, an incoming member of Junior league. “And by partnering with Catholic Charities for distribution, our work will go far and wide,” she said. Moore knows this better than most, given that she is also an executive at Catholic Charities who works with the organization’s 80 programs spread across 200 locations throughout Maryland.

Karen Eaddy, the program director of My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, Catholic Charities’ day resource center for women and children experiencing homelessness in Baltimore City, said the donations will go quickly.

The women with whom she works do not have a lot of money, and they tend to prioritize other items with the limited resources they do have. “But while these products are low on the priority list, they are in very high demand,” Eaddy said.

As a result, visitors to My Sister’s Place will always find two things available to them at the front door: snacks and hygiene products.

Andrea Moore wants to keep it this way so those experiencing homelessness can have the same peace of mind regarding menstruation that those who enjoy greater financial security do. “We don’t have to think about this. We just go to the store and buy what we need,” she said.

“The need is continuous,” Moore added. “And this is just the beginning.”

The Junior League is using two methods of donation receipt:

  1. An Amazon wish list; items will be delivered to the Junior League of Baltimore Headquarters (JLBHQ) located at 5902 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212.
  2. Team member receipt; team members will receive donations solicited from friends and family. Team members will ensure delivery of these products no less than two business days before the finalized Catholic Charities delivery date.

Accepted donations are limited to the following items:

  • Tampons
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Pantyliners
  • Menstrual cups
  • New, unopened packages of disposable underwear
  • New, unopened packages of washable underwear

To learn more about the Junior League of Baltimore and take part in the fundraising drive, click here. For further reading about Menstrual Hygiene Day and period poverty click here and here, respectively.