General Synod participants assemble thousands of hygiene kits to combat period poverty

The goal of assembling and collecting 3,000 menstrual hygiene kits at General Synod was surpassed as young and old alike gathered to take part in the mission project at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. In fact, with the help of Youth@Synod, delegates, visitors and volunteers, the project turned out 3,157 period packs to be distributed with the help of Church World Service.

The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson packs period hygiene kits at the Indiana Convention Center on July 2 during General Synod 34.

“Because of the generosity of so many of our churches, both in providing already assembled period kits and sending additional funds, we have scores more than we expected,” said the Rev. Monica Dawkins-Smith, executive associate for UCC Wider Church Ministries and coordinator of the project.

Providing period kits can help vulnerable people facing period poverty, which recent studies show affects two in five people who menstruate. “Period poverty has emerged as an important topic globally,” said Associate General Minister the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson. She added that many people “do not have access to the resources to allow them to have proper menstrual hygiene.” She spent some time Sunday evening, July 2, assembling period packs with a good number of other Synod participants.

A group of young people from Rhode Island in the UCC Southern New England Conference helped too. This is Jay Thornber’s first General Synod, and he said he is participating because he thinks it’s a good opportunity to help people in need.” “Menstrual products aren’t always, available,” he said, “and I think they should be.”

Diane and David Schnaars of Slatington, Pa., members of the Penn Northeast Conference, also joined in. “Every time there’s a General Synod, we help out with the service project,” said Diane. “It’s just what we do,” chimed in David.  

The project is an offshoot of the Thursdays In Black campaign to end gender-based violence. It aims to provide free access to essential period products so using unsanitary alternatives can be avoided. Menstrual hygiene items are not covered by U.S. government assistance programs.  

Timelapse of volunteers assembling “Period Packs” at the Menstrual Hygiene Kits Service Project.

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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