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New program offers free menstrual products with expansion of Period Access Dallas Initiative

 Councilpersons Paula Blackmon (left) and Adam Bazaldua (right) stand near red PAD signs with QR code in Flag Room of Dallas City Hall.
Brittany Stubblefield-Engram
/
KERA News
Dallas City Council members Paula Blackmon and Adam Bazaldua recognized the work of the Youth Commission in the program Period Access Dallas Initiative.

The city of Dallas will now provide free access to menstrual products as part of their Racial Equity Plan alignment.

The program Period Access Dallas Initiative (PAD) is an equity response to address period poverty in the city. It is in alignment with several equity indicators, including child poverty and working poverty.

As part of the program, packages of menstruation products such as pads and tampons of varying sizes are stocked in the restrooms of public entities.

Products are also available from trained staff for distribution. Residents can return the following month to receive another package.

The City of Dallas Office of Community Care, the Dallas Public Library and Dallas Park and Recreation announced the expansion of PAD initiative to 72 public facilities throughout the city.

The city originally announced PAD in May with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The initiative began by providing free menstrual products to Dallas residents in 24 public facilities, including community centers, libraries and recreation centers in Qualifying Census Tracts (QCTs).

The QCTs are areas where at least 25 percent of residents lived below the poverty level.

Council member Paula Blackmon said she realizes that poverty affects the ability of women to afford menstrual products.

"In looking at the data and showing it, it really does hit women in an economic and a social way and not to mention just a health care way," Blackmon said.

A study from a 2019 Obstetrics and Gynecology journal shows that low-income women struggle to afford and purchase period products.

Future plans for PAD include additional opportunities for accessible distribution like WIC clinics or nonprofit organizations in the city.

Officials also hope to remove the "pink tax", a discriminatory taxation on period products, at state and federal level, to allow pads and tampons for purchase using SNAP benefits and/or WIC.

Blackmon said she hopes this city initiative is a catalyst for statewide change.

"[Hopefully] more people see this and the state sees the need and that we create an overwhelming solution to a problem that affects anyone menstruating," Blackmon said.

People can review locations for access to free period products at OCC PAD website bit.ly/OCCPAD.

Got a tip? Email Brittany Stubblefield-Engram at bstubblefield-engram@kera.org.

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