Period products can be expensive, which is why so many low income women are demanding access to free tampons, pads and other period supplies. It’s an important step toward equality and economic success for women who cannot afford these desperately needed products.
Why We Need Free Period Products
Over 800 million people menstruate daily worldwide. In America, over 16.9 women are living in poverty, and studies show that two-thirds of those people struggled to afford menstrual products in the last year.
When a woman cannot access the supplies she needs, it’s called period poverty. Period poverty can cause depression, urinary tract infections, and other health issues. Statistically, 1 in 3 women who experience period poverty often miss work or school because they cannot access the supplies needed to manage their menstrual cycle. This affects the financial future of those affected women, but it also affects the economy overall.
That’s why so many people believe period products should be free. There would be definite benefits to the economy overall as women could more fully participate in education and employment throughout the month.
Nationwide Sources for Free Period Products
Fortunately, low income women in America do have options if they need free period products like tampons or pads. There are many organizations – and more recently, many government organizations and schools – that offer these supplies at no cost to those who need them.
Let’s review some of your options.
Alliance for Free Period Supplies
The Alliance for Free Period Supplies is helping empower families to get the free period products they need. This organization partners with over 100 community providers to ensure that everyone who needs these items can get them.
You can find a list of of APS partners on their website. Interestingly, many of these partnered organizations are food banks or diaper banks. Contact the one nearest you to see if they can help you get the supplies you need!
Many food banks have expanded their offerings to include critical hygiene supplies like free period products, free cleaning supplies and more.
If you are struggling to afford your period products, please ask your local food bank if they provide these items or if they know someone in your community who does.
Diaper banks are an important source for infant hygiene supplies. Many diaper banks have expanded their offerings to include adult diapers and even free period supplies, as well! This way, the entire family can get the help that they need in one convenient place.
Many diaper banks have joined the Alliance for Free Period Supplies. You can always ask your food bank if they have joined and, if not, if they know of any other organizations in your area that may provide this vital service.
The Kwek Society is working to help Native communities get improved access to free period products. According to this organization, one in three students left or missed school because they didn’t have access to period products this year.
This organization provides pads, tampons, liners, underwear and other supplies to Indigenous students and communities who need them. They serve communities across the United States and Canada.
You can find their list of community partners here.
As stated previously, there are several states that have required schools to provide free tampons and pads to students who need them. Depending on the state rules, these products may be placed either in the restrooms or in the classrooms.
There are about 20 states that have either passed laws or are in the process of passing laws that require schools to distribute free period supplies. These include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
Local Sources for Free Period Products
There are several organizations that are working on getting free tampons, pads and even free menstrual cups to communities throughout the United States. These organizations include the Alliance for Period Supplies, the Kwek Society and more.
As of this writing, most of the programs are hosted by local diaper banks or food banks. If you don’t see an organization near you in this list, please check with your local diaper bank or food bank to see if they are aware of any resources in your area.
Bundles of Hope Diaper Bank is listed as an Alliance for Period Supplies partner but no additional information is listed on their website. You will need to contact them for more information.
Native Village of Marshall receives free period supplies through The Kwek Society. Their program began in August 2022 and serves around 100 people in Marshall.
There are several organizations that offer free menstrual supplies in Arizona, including:
Havasu Helping Girls in Lake Havasu City is incredible. Their program is not limited to financial need and helps anyone who resides in, attends school in, or visits their service area. That area includes Lake Havasu City, Parker, Bullhead City, Laughlin and Fort Mohave. They have a convenient online order form that allows you to order once or set up a recurring monthly subscription. You can select a mix of tampons, pads, panty liners and feminine wipes during the checkout process. They also offer a period starter kit for tweens who haven’t yet started their periods.
Women4Women in Tempe helps homeless and low income women in their area by providing free period supplies. It is not clear how you request those items, so you will need to contact their agency directly.
Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona in Tucson also provides period supplies, but they distribute those items through their network of over 40 community partners. Their partners include the Sunnyside Unified School District, the Teenage Parent High School, Benson Hospital, The Covenant House, St. Vincent de Paul, Hands of Hope and more. Find the partner closest to you using their online map. Don’t worry; I know it says diaper request, but the Diaper Bank website clearly says they distribute period supplies, too.
Shiprock Office of Diné Youth also provides free period supplies to students across the Navajo Nation through their partnership with the Kwek Society.
The Flo Free Foundation in Bentonville provides free period supplies to those who cannot afford them. As they say, periods are not a choice. You will need to contact their agency directly to find out how to request those supplies.
California schools are required to provide free period supplies in their bathrooms.
The San Diego Food Bank is a member of the Alliance for Period Supplies, so they may be able to assist you as well.
Period Kits in Northglenn provides period hygiene kits to people who are experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty.
Grace Upon Grace in Loveland gives away free period products, diapers and wipes for clients. You need to register in advance and attend one of their Distribution Days to receive assistance.
Healthy Native Communities Partnership Inc. provides period supplies, including menstrual cups. You can get more information by contacting their organization.
The Diaper Bank of Connecticut provides free period supplies through their BEAM Period Supplies program.
Delaware schools are required to provide free feminine hygiene supplies in 50% of the school bathrooms that are used by menstruating students. The schools are required to post information about which bathrooms have them.
The Junior League of Wilmington provides free period products through their program called Stand Up Period.
Most of the information I found about free period products in Florida focused on the organizations that gather those products instead of those that distribute them. After doing some digging, I found that there are dozens of organizations throughout the state that receive and distribute these donations.
For details about how you can get free supplies, you will need to contact the organizations near you and ask about their eligibility criteria and distribution schedules.
Here are a list of distributing organizations:
- A Safe Future Foundation in Duval County
- ACT Women’s Shelters of Fort Myers
- Amigos Center of Southwest Florida
- Beyond the Pantry in Leon County
- Bonita Springs Assistance Office
- Boys & Girls Clubs (multiple locations)
- Broward Partnership
- Café of Life in Bonita Springs
- Cammilus House
- Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice
- Central Florida Diaper Bank
- Central Florida Post Partum Alliance
- Collier County Public Schools
- Choose Life Alliance
- Donna J. Beasley Technical High School in Lehigh Acres
- Embrace in Celebration
- Eva’s Closet
- Friends of Foster Children
- Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
- Grace Place for Children & Families
- Healthy Start of Southwest Florida
- Interfaith Charities of South Lee
- James R Smith Center
- Jill’s Place in Alva
- Junior League (various locations)
- Juvenile Resource Center in Naples
- The Immokalee Foundation
- Lee County School District
- Lotus House
- Meals of Hope
- New Horizons
- Noah’s Ark Family Services
- Our Daily Bread Food PAntry
- Pace Center for Girls
- Providence House in Naples
- Miami Rescue Mission Outreach Centers
- Mision Peniel
- Pelican Church
- St. Matthew’s House
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Susan B Anthony Recovery Center
- The Salvation Army
- Treasure Coast Food Bank
- United Way
- Youth Haven
Atlanta GLOW hosts free period product distribution events. You need to register in advance to claim yours but you do not need to prove your income. Just visit their public storage unit on the appointed day in order to get your free supplies. The kit includes pads, tampons, liners, soap, shampoo, deodorant and other essentials.
Helping Mamas in Norcross provides a period poverty program. They also have a mobile outreach program that delivers products to Fayetteville, Atlanta, Sandy Springs and other nearby areas.
Over the Moon Diaper Bank provides help in Savannah and the Coastal Georgia region.
Ma’i Movement provides monthly Care Kits that contain a one month’s supply of pads, night pads, tampons, liners and wipes. The organization allows you to pick them up and will do their best to deliver if you are unable to reach them.
Illinois requires that homeless shelters provide free period products.
Keeping Families Covered has a mobile pantry that visits six locations multiple times per month. The locations are in Gurnee, Waukegan, Grayslake, Round Lake Park, Highwood, and Kenosha. Their mobile bank provides diapers and period supplies to families. You need to register for their program on their website before attending a pickup event.
Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank provides period product and free diapers to over 11 counties: Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Tazewell, Stark and Warren. They distribute these items through the following partners:
- Early Beginnings (Fulton, Hancock & McDonough)
- Salvation Army (Fulton & Knox)
- Spoons River Pregnancy Center (Fulton)
- Abilities Plus (Henry)
- Henry Stark Health Department (Henry & Stark)
- Abingdon Community Center (Knox)
- VNA Community Services (Knox)
- Williamsville Food Pantry (Knox)
- Mercer County Health Department
- Mercer County Senior Cente
- Boys & Girls Club of Greater Peoria
- Catholic Charities’ St Nicholas Mobile Pantry (Peoria)
- FamilyCore (Peoria)
- Good Beginnings (Peoria & Tazewell)
- Jobs Partnership (Peoria)
- Peoria Hand Up (Peoria)
- Peoria County Bright Futures
- Lighthouse Church of God Food Pantry (Tazewell)
- Pekin 108 (Tazewell)
- Tazewell County Health Department
- Jamieson Community Center (Warren)
The Period Collective donates free period products to food banks, schools, transitional housing services and shelters throughout Chicago. Contact your local food bank to see if they have donations available!
Healthier Moms and Babies is an Alliance for Period Supplies affiliate. If you use their services, you may be able to get free pads, tampons and other necessities. You can start by filling out the form on their website.
Project Period provides free period products to 15 schools, nine public service organizations and five community centers in Central Indiana. It is not clear if you can receive free period products from their partner agencies or not. It’s worth looking into if you need assistance.
Flint Hills Breadbasket is a food pantry in Manhattan. They also provide non-food essentials, including free period products and toilet paper. This location serves residence of Manhattan, Riley County, FOrt Riley and St. George.
Giving the Basics provides free products for basic needs that aren’t covered by government assistance programs. The Basics include deodorant, soap, shampoo and conditioner, dental care products, toilet paper, baby wipes, diapers, menstrual supplies, trash bags, laundry soap and other essentials. However, they distribute the items through a network of nonprofits so you’ll need to contact them to find the provider in your area.
Just Basics is an organization that provides essential needs like diapers, formula, menstrual products and more to those who need them. It was the first program in Kansas to join the Alliance for Period Supplies.
Strawberry Week is an organization that is trying to solve period poverty in Kansas and Missouri. They distribute period products to a number of partners, including the following:
- Christ the King
- Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness
- Growing Futures
- Heartland Center
- Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City
- KC For Refugees
- KC Heroes
- Kansas CHildren’s Service LEague
- Kansas City Public Library
- KCMO Angels
- Love Fund for Children
- Northeast Community Center
- Pride Haven
- Samuel O Rodgers Health Center
- University Health
Helping Hygiene puts free hygiene baskets in schools and universities. They also provide free period products to food pantries and shelters who need them. If you need assistance, contact the Community Action Council and Big Blue Pantry to see if they have any products available.
Basic Necessities is a diaper bank that also provides pads, tampons and menstrual cups. All supplies are given for free to clients who receive SNAP, WIC, Medicaid or unemployment in the ArkLaTex area.
Power Pump Girls has a campaign called Secured which offers free period products to those who are experiencing financial hardship. They work with 15 different community partners to distribute those but I was not able to find a list. You’ll need to contact them for details.
The Junior League of New Orleans offers free period products through their distribution partners but I couldn’t find a list of who those partners are.
The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine offers an essential pantry that includes free period products. They also provide basic toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toilet paper, laundry detergent, first aid items, Tylenol and cleaning supplies. In order to receive these items, you need to register to receive help from the diaper bank or the Refugee Resettlement program.
The Marshall Hope Corporation in Annapolis provides food and social assistance to low income members of their community. They are a registered member of the Alliance for Period Supplies, so I assume that they also offer those items as well.
The Student Support Network is also registered but it appears that they provide their products directly to the Baltimore County Public Schools.
A Baby Center is a diaper bank in the Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard region. In addition to distributing diapers, they also provide period supplies when donations allow.
Dignity Matters provides free period supplies, underwear and bras to community organizations that support people throughout Boston. If you need help in the Boston Metro area, please consider reaching out to these organizations:
- A Place to Turn in Natick
- Action Community Supper & Food Pantry in Boxborough
- Amirah in Lynn
- Beacon Academy in Boston
- Bethany Hill Place in Framingham
- Boston Collaborative High School in South Boston
- Boston Community Pediatrics in Boston
- Boys & Girls Clubs (multiple locations)
- Bristol Community College in Fall River
- Bristol Lodge Food Pantry & Soup Kitchen in Waltham
- Cambridge Community Center Food Pantry in Cambridge
- Cambridge Women’s Center in Cambridge
- Catie’s Closet in Dracut
- Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton
- Chesterbrook Community Foundation in Waltham
- City Mission in Dorchester
- COE House in Framingham
- Deering Congregate in Mattapan
- East Boston Community Soup Kitchen in BOston
- Elizabeth Stone House in Roxbury
- Family Promise Metro-West in Natick
- FamilyAid in Boston
- RAMS Resource Center in Framingham
- Girl Inc in Worcester
- Healthy Baby Healthy Child Program in Boston
- Hildebrand in Cambridge
- Holliston Pantry Shelf in Holliston
- HOPWA in Framingham
- Howland Congregate in Boston
- Interfaith Social Services in Quincy
- Jewish Family Services of MetroWest in Framingham
- Johnson Congregate in Dorchester
- Kevin Congregate in Dorchester
- La Colaborativa Food PAntry in Chelsea
- Lasell Dry Pantry in Newton
- Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence
- Marlborough Community Cupboard in Marlborough
- Mary’s House in Waltham
- Medfield Food Cupboard in Medfield
- Medway Village Church Food Pantry in Medway
- Michigan Congregate in Boston
- Milford Daily Bread in Milford
- More than Words in Boston
- Natick High School in Natick
- Natick Service Council in Natick
- Needham Community Council in Needham
- Neighborhood of Affordable Housing in East Boston
- Newton Community Freedge Collaborative in Newton
- Newton Food Pantry in Newton
- Norfolk Congregate in Dorhcester
- Behrakis Student Center in Haverhill
- On the Rise in Cambridge
- Open Table in Maynard
- Pathways Family Shelter in Framingham
- Pine Street Inn in Boston
- Place of Promise in Lowell
- Project Just Because in Hopkinton
- Project Soup in Somerville
- Prospect Hill Community Foundation in Waltham
- Quincy Congregate in Dorchester
- REACH Beyond Domestic Violence in Waltham
- RIA House in Framingham
- ROCA in Chelsea
- Sage House in Framingham
- Salvation Army (multiple locations)
- Serenity House in Framingham
- Shadows & Meadows in Ashland
- SMOC Scattered Sites around Framingham
- Southwest Community Food Center in Quincy
- St. Bridgets Food Pantry in Framingham
- Sudbury CARES Food Pantry in Sudbury
- Sudbury Community Food Pantry in Sudbury
- The Wish Project in North Chelmsford
- Townsend Congregate in Roxbury
- Voices Against Violence in Framingham
- Wellesley Food Pantry in Wellesley
- Westborough Food Pantry in Westborough
- Willis House Shelter in Hudson
- Women Connecting Affecting Change (WCAC) in Dorchester
- Women’s Lunch Place in Boston
- Woods Mullen in Boston
- YMCA (multiple locations)
- Youth on Fire in Cambridge
Free Period is an organization in Hingham that provides free period products for low income people. They partner with different community organizations to help distribute those items. You won’t be able to get any by contacting Free. directly, but you may be able to get some by contacting these community partners instead:
- Bay State Community Services
- Health Imperatives
- Fall River Family Resource Center
- Interfaith Social Services
- Love Life Now Foundation
- Soldiers Care Packages
- South Shore Foster Closet in Brockton
- Southwest Community Food Center
- YWCA of Southeastern MA
Bare Necessities Diaper Bank TN serves the mid-south area with free adult incontinence products and other necessities. It
Austin Diaper Bank provides diapers, wipes and more to 35 local agencies. The diapers are between newborn size and size 6. In order to get these diapers, though, you’ll need to contact one of their partner agencies for assistance.
The Thurston County Food Bank in Olympia provides diapers when they are available. They also offer incontinence and menstrual supplies, Starbucks (when available), cleaning and personal products and birthday bags for children age 12 and under! The birthday bags include a cake mix and frosting, small gifts, books and party favors. They also have newborn baby bags for new and expecting parents.
The Greater DC Food Bank has a program called The Monthly, which provides free period supplies throughout the city. They work with over 75 different nonprofits to help distribute those supplies, so they should be able to help you find assistance in your area.
There are many organizations that provide free period products and supplies for low income women across America. These charities hope to help women participate more fully in work, school and community life by increasing access to these critical hygiene supplies. Check with your local provider from this list for details about how you can get the free period products that you need!