United Way Fox Cities

Breaking the Stigma: How Two Students are Fighting Period Poverty in N.E.W.

Meet Olivia and Annabelle, two Oshkosh West High School seniors that are tackling period poverty in Northeast Wisconsin.

United Way’s connection with these change-makers began when Olivia volunteered with her mom at a Community Diaper Repack. Every volunteer opportunity at United Way Fox Cities Hub starts with some education around the cause — so that individuals can see the depth of their impact while repacking period products, care kits, diapers for the Kimberly-Clark Diaper Bank, and more.

Like many others, Olivia was surprised to learn that 2 in 5 people have struggled to access period products — and 1 in 3 low-income individuals have reported missing work or school because they couldn’t access necessary supplies.  

Inspired to act, Olivia and her friend Annabelle took it upon themselves to combat period poverty for their neighbors and peers in this community. Olivia and Annabelle organized a drive to collect period products for their Global Scholar Capstone class. They chose to battle period poverty because, in their words, “We didn’t realize there was such a lack of period products and we wanted to help contribute.”

Through this initiative, they not only met a vital community need but also helped break the stigma that surrounds it. Oshkosh Area United Way and United Way Fox Cities helped connect Olivia and Annabelle to local organizations that could further their efforts, including the Monthlies Project, Winnebago Area Literacy Council, Oshkosh Area Schools, and local businesses.  

Their message to their peers and to all of us is simple yet powerful: “Be the leader and fight for change in your community when you see an issue.”

Today, we invite you to join Olivia, Annabelle, and countless other supporters in making a difference. If you share their desire to take action, you can:

  • Follow Olivia and Annabelle’s journey on Instagram and do what you can to support the cause. Their period product drive runs through mid-December. If you’re from Southern Winnebago County, get involved with your Oshkosh Area United Way!  
  • Learn more about period poverty through the Alliance for Period Supplies.
  • Get involved with United Way Fox Cities to combat period poverty through several grants and initiatives including The Monthlies Project and repack opportunities at The Hub.

Finding our Common Unity means we do what we can to give, advocate, and volunteer. Thank you, Olivia and Annabelle, for taking a stand and helping build a more equitable community!

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