Donate Now!

NOSM medical students’ second menstrual product drive supports Kingfisher Lake First Nation

Posted on February 14, 2022

Indigenous communities, particularly remotely located ones, are faced with numerous health inequities compared with urban settings. Last year, a partnership was announced between Shoppers Drug Mart and the Ontario Government to provide free menstrual products to provincially run school boards for the next three years. Regrettably, this private donation from Shoppers Drug Mart does not extend to federally-run Indigenous school boards. Ironically, menstrual products in Indigenous communities are significantly more expensive and difficult to find. This partnership further exacerbates the health inequities these communities face.

Ashley Perreault and Lucie Ménard, medical students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), have launched their second Menstrual Product Drive in hopes of minimizing the financial and physical burden menstruation has on Indigenous communities. This year, the fundraiser will support Kingfisher Lake First Nation.

Kingfisher Lake First Nation is a remote fly-in community located 350km Northeast of Sioux Lookout. The community has approximately 150 individuals of reproductive age who menstruate. Menstrual products in this community are available for purchase at one local store, which often runs out of supplies. Costs of menstrual products in this community average $10.50 for 16 tampons and $15.00 for 32 tampons—triple the cost of products purchased in urban centers or online.

Funds raised through the student’s GoFundMe will be used to purchase reusable menstrual pads for the community. Each kit costs approximately $55.00 and will contain five reusable pads, a wet bag, and cleaning supplies. Menstrual kits will be made by pad makers across Canada including: Lady Crimson Cloth Emporium, Cozy Clams, Soft Taco Reusables and Amie Pads.

The students’ goal is to raise $10,000 to cover shipping costs and to ensure all current and future menstruators in Kingfisher Lake First Nation receive a kit.

“Menstrual products are only available at one store. They’re expensive and we often run out. We have to ask our friends and family if they have any products and sometimes, they don’t,” says Mary Lou Winter, Health Director of Kingfisher Lake First Nation.

Last year, Ashley and Lucie supplied every menstruator in the community of Fort Severn First Nation with a reusable menstrual product kit. Their 2021 Menstrual Product Drive raised over $6,000 to help relieve the burden of menstruation on this community. “We received many boxes of products this summer and they were all gone in a couple of days,” says Daisy Kabestra, Health Director of Fort Severn First Nation. “Everyone was grateful. Now we don’t have to worry about buying products for a long time.”

Learn more about last year’s success and how Wasaya Airways supported the Menstrual Product Drive for Fort Severn First Nation.

The goal for this year’s fundraiser is $10,000. Donate in support of Kingfisher Lake First Nation through the student-run GoFundMe.