Students organize collection drive for period products


Marta Bourget

Baskets with free period products are put in the Hayes bathrooms.

Marta Bourget, Staff Writer

Menstrual products are a must for around half of the students at Hayes and free products are available at the nursing office.
The head nurse at Hayes, Laura Westhoven estimates that 6-10 students come in each day to get pads and tampons, and around 40-50 a week.
Even with the recent exemption from sales taxes in Ohio, pads and tampons aren’t free.
“We get a nursing budget for the whole nursing department over all the schools in the district,” Westhoven said. “A lot of that [budget] goes to buying pads and tampons.”
Two students noticed this demand for products and decided to do something about it.
Senior Kelly Schafer and junior Gretchen Esterly found inspiration for their cause through literature.
“[Librarian Sarah] Ressler gave us a book called Period Power… It talked about period poverty and inequality,” Schafer said.
This book led to the two students making the drive, but they found other passions along the way, rather than reaching a goal of donating a certain number of products.
“We don’t have a number of products,” Esterly said. “We just want to bring awareness to the stigma against [periods].”
Any fundraiser or drive can become expensive and difficult to run. Costs and time for materials and bringing awareness can become overwhelming.
But Esterly and Schafer found ways to achieve the drive, while not breaking the bank.
Periods are often a hushed topic, with many unaware of what actually happens during one.
“I see a lot of people who are shaming it on social media, and it’s not gross,” Esterly said.
In October, Hayes ran another drive titled “Socktober.” The school collected over 800 pairs of socks for those in need and was considered a big success.
“We’re reusing a lot of supplies from Socktober as well,” Schafer said.
Donation boxes will be reused from Socktober and placed around the school for donations, which will happen after Thanksgiving break.
But Esterly and Schafer have an even broader vision for this drive.
“I contacted the Delaware County Library and so we’re going to try to set up a drive there too, so it’s not just the school but the community,” Esterly said.