Nascimento’s mission: Respond to the need for hygiene products

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07/20/2021

Erin Nascimento distributes hygiene products in bags covered with inspiring messages.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The decision by state lawmakers in this year’s legislative session to require that feminine hygiene products be made available free of charge to students was a big step in the right direction, Erin said Nascimento of North Providence, founder of Red.Lined.Period.

The new non-profit group was formed several months ago and kicked off in early June with a distribution of free hygiene products to all public schools in North Providence. Nascimento said she is still figuring out where the funds will come from as part of the broader state effort, but her organization will stick to its mission whether or not it continues to partner with them. schools beyond next year.

Nascimento partners with the PVD community refrigerator and other pantries to provide hygiene products, and also formalizes other partnerships to do the same in other accessible places.

“Through community gifts, I collect and distribute a range of products, but mostly pads and tampons wrapped in really adorable pouches,” she said.

With a mission to operate solely through donations, Nascimento is also reaching out to local businesses to help them place contribution bins as she tries to spread the word more widely.

In addition to schools in North Providence, including CITE School (soon to be Ocean State Academy), Red.Lined. delivers items to free book boxes and small libraries and has also been in touch with various social service organizations to partner with them to help them.

Nascimento explained the idea behind the organization.

“Period doesn’t change based on where you live, who you are, what your abilities or if you can afford supplies, and sometimes you just aren’t prepared,” she said. . “If you identify with any of these things and need menstrual supplies, we want you to be able to walk, ride, and get what you need. Don’t stop, hand in your financial documents and wait days or weeks to be called back to the pantry.

The name comes from the idea that red is an iconic color in the world of women, and for menstruating humans, red is the color, she said.

“It’s a nod to the red pen, red X or red line that women have walked over the past century as Americans, shattering glass ceilings and fighting for equality,” she declared. “It is also a sign of respect for past or present periods subject to the discriminatory red line that has occurred, particularly in my hometown of Providence.”

In the 1990s, she said she was holding her mother’s hand in the “bread line” on Avenue Manton.

“They didn’t have pads or tampons for her – it was a commodity,” she said. “I hope Red.Lined.Period. Can learn, grow and expand in communities that need it most.

She said she reached out to school officials in Pawtucket, Providence and Central Falls, and while she hasn’t heard back, it may be because they already have programs in place.

It was only recently that menstrual supplies were added as an approved flexible spending arrangement / health savings account spending, she noted. SNAP and WIC, two extensions of Medicaid, do not allow the purchase of what it has described as medically necessary supplies.

“We can say it’s because they are not ‘food’, but then let’s ask why they are not covered by Medicaid health coverage? ” she said.

She said her goal is to reach out to people.

“What is accessibility? He gets what you need, where you need it, ”she said.

Children start the menstruation process at age 9, sometimes 8, and are completely unprepared, Nascimento said. Her groups give the school nurse red kits which are a discreet personal bag with two to three days of supplies.

“It helps them feel confident and worthy where they are comfortable at school,” she said, adding that every nurse in North Providence public schools is equipped with kits and will continue to do so. being.

“We’re still looking at whether the latest legislation will provide grants or funds to schools, but from 2022-2023 schools will be mandated to provide students,” she said. “Until I am told that these services are not needed through Red.Lined., We will continue to show full bags, free of charge.”

The LBGTQA + community is a special community for the group, she said. The average American won’t think about the specialty items that an LBGTQA + person will need, she stressed, and sometimes an alternative product can be essential to ensure dignity during a transition period. Some are more practical and reduce bathroom breaks and enhance dignity.

“If an alternative menstrual product is needed, a person can use the website to request confidentiality of the supplies and we will take care of providing them with what they need if it is within our capacity,” she said. “We connected with qtma.pvd which provides mutual aid to queer and trans communities. They too can connect community members with the supplies they need.

Nascimento said her idea for the organization arose when she encountered a homeless person while placing items in Providence pantries. This person was deeply grateful for the articles, she said, pointing out that homeless people often just use what they have.

“It’s crazy, in 2021, why is this still a problem,” she said. “It’s just not the first thing people think of.”

Nascimento, whose own child is 9, said his attention then turned to “great need” in schools, where students shouldn’t have to ask someone for help.

Nascimento collects pads, tampons, liners and incontinence briefs (which are provided to special schools). Visit www.redlinedperiod.org to learn more and find a trash can to drop off donations. There is currently a GoFundMe available at www.redlinedperiod.org. The goal is to raise enough funds to upgrade the current storage system and, more importantly, to raise enough funds to register for federal nonprofit status so that the group can accept grants and grants. larger projects, said Nascimento. Find the organization on Instagram and Facebook at red.lined.period.

Governor Dan McKee this month enacted a bill sponsored by State Senator Valarie Lawson, District 14, East Providence, and State Representative Carol Hagan McEntee, District 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett, which would require all public schools to provide free feminine hygiene products.

The legislation states that at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, all public schools teaching grades 5 to 12 will make feminine hygiene products available in schools.


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