In 2017, the co-founders of Monthly Dignity began their mission against period poverty after realizing just how many folks in their community struggle to afford menstrual hygiene products. Starting out as a small crowdfunding campaign on Facebook, Monthly Dignity has grown into a non-profit that provides 19 community partners with menstrual products. To date, it has distributed over 193,000 pads, tampons, menstrual cups and incontinence products.
Monthly Dignity is a Montreal-based non-profit organization that was founded by McGill students Julia Coste and Chloé Pronovost-Morgan in 2017. Monthly Dignity’s goal is to tackle period poverty via three core pillars. The first is palliative – it involves the distribution of menstrual hygiene products to those who need them but cannot afford them. The second is discursive and revolves around fostering a conversation on the intersection of menstruation and precarity, deconstructing the taboo and shame that surround periods and empowering menstruators through knowledge of their menstrual cycle. The third is political and leverages advocacy for menstrual health and equity. Scotland was the first nation to legislate free access to period products to all those who need them. Monthly Dignity believes that Canada should follow suit: in 2021, in a country as affluent as ours, period poverty should not be an issue.
Monthly Dignity was founded on a community-based and community-dependent model, and it has grown that way since. The model connects organizations that should logically work together but did not. For example, they operate via a tripartite partnership with Fempro ULC – the sole menstrual hygiene product producer in Quebec, and Moisson Montréal – Canada’s largest foodbank. When products are no longer of market value due to outdated packaging, Fempro donates the surplus to Monthly Dignity, instead of throwing it out as previously done. Moisson picks up and stores these products in their facilities, keeping aside the amount needed for Monthly Dignity’s community partners and distributing the rest to theirs, who operate to palliate food insecurity.