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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Non-profits bring "Pink Pantry" to Midland ISD high schools

"About 1 in every 4 families can't afford either toiletries or feminine hygiene products. And 1 in 5 girls will miss school because of having her period.

MIDLAND, Texas — If you're a woman, having a menstrual cycle is something natural and expected. But starting one is a different story.

Unfortunately there's no alarm clock or warning and in most cases, starting your period happens in the most un-ideal setting.

"Every women knows or remembers when all of that happened and had that horror story and asked somebody to borrow something. And as an educator, I used to keep hygiene products in my classroom for girls. That was something they didn't have to go without or feel embarrassed about," said Andra Jones with the Junior League of Midland.

But not all teachers are like Mrs. Jones and keep them handy, especially males professors. It's a problem Jones says was affecting young women's education.

"So many girls miss school due to the lack of having feminine and hygiene products. So the stats are, about one in every four families can't afford either toiletries or feminine hygiene products. And one in five girls will miss school because of having her period," said Jones.

Which is exactly what inspired the need for a "Pink pantry." A safe haven for women in need of basic hygiene and feminine products like pads, tampons liners, shampoo, conditioner and soap.

"Yes we try to carry things on us, but things happen and surprises happen. I've gotten feedback from educators saying, 'hey thank you' this is what our girls need," said Jones.

"They know where to send the girls on the campuses. And it's just something the girls know they can swing by get what they need and go right back to class and not miss any education time."

"I'll be honest, I never thought this would be an issue keeping a young lady from school. Young women go through a lot already. So dealing with this basic biological situation should not be one of those," said Eliseo Elizondo, Executive Director for Communities in Schools.

The response has been overwhelming and now Elizondo says the Ector County schools are doing everything they can to implement pink pantries in their schools.

"I think that as an educator we obviously focus on academics and growing kids, but we also need to think about what is going on in the background and making sure they have exactly what they need so that they can focus on their education," said Jones.

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