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The Sonlight Parish Presbyterian Women's group met on March 13, 2019.

The group includes women from Fredericktown, Ironton, and Park Hills. At the March meeting, they discussed a study done by St. Louis University which said "nearly two-thirds of low-income women in the St. Louis area could not afford menstrual hygiene products over the course of the last year."

The study went on to note that of these women, 21% lacked these supplies on a monthly basis and 46% struggled to afford both menstrual hygiene products and food.

These supplies are not a luxury, they are necessities. The absence of these products force women to make decisions that should never have to be made. Should they miss work, school, employment opportunities or even basic family activities simply because of the high cost of these necessities? The women that were surveyed by SLU reported this is the main key challenge they face. Basic menstrual supplies cannot be purchased using government benefits such as Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also referred to as food stamps). These items are also taxed at the higher nonessential items rate.

This information brought to our attention a need that we, as women, felt we had to address. While the article was written with data from the St. Louis area, we are confident this is also a concern for many women and young girls in our communities. Therefore, we would like to set aside the first Saturday in September as a day to challenge women's organizations.

September 7, 2019 from 10 a.m. until noon, we will be stationed at the Presbyterian Churches in the following communities: Ironton, Fredericktown and in Park Hills to accept donations of menstrual hygiene products. We will then take these products to the local food pantries in each community so they can be distributed to those in need.

We know that many churches and organizations contribute on a regular basis to the food pantries, but it is our hope that we can make this an annual drive to help with the most personal of needs. So let's come together with a collective intention and make magic happen.

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