Tess Nichol is the Consumer Affairs reporter for the Herald.

Supermarket discounts sanitary items in two-week campaign

Labour MP Louisa Wall is joining Countdown to push the campaign aiming to make sanitary products available for struggling Kiwi women. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour MP Louisa Wall is joining Countdown to push the campaign aiming to make sanitary products available for struggling Kiwi women. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Thousands of dollars of sanitary products have been donated to charity ahead of a two-week campaign by Countdown offering the items at a discounted price.

For the next two weeks the supermarket chain will be selling a range of cheaper sanitary products at $4 each, and encouraging customers to donate a pack to the Salvation Army, either in-store or online via the Foodbank Project.

To kick-start the campaign, Countdown has donated $5000 of sanitary products to the Salvation Army and has suggested customers take advantage of the cheaper prices and buy an extra pack or two for women in need.

Almost $40,000 of sanitary products have been donated since July last year, when Countdown began working with Labour MP Louisa Wall and the Salvation Army to launch online donations of sanitary products which are distributed through eight foodbank hubs.

While necessary, sanitary items could be hard to fit into a tight budget, said Countdown spokesman James Walker.

Donations of extra sanitary packs could be dropped off in specially marked bins in store, he said.

"This small gesture will make a big difference and go a long way to helping women who might be struggling to afford these products each month."

Wall said the campaign aimed to help make sure no women were held back from participating in society because they couldn't access sanitary products.

"Female sanitary products are not a luxury, but for young Kiwi women on tight budgets they're an expense that's hard to afford. Without these products, young women are staying at home and missing precious time at school or university," she said.

"We know that some women and young girls are choosing to stay home when they have their period and university students are choosing not to catch the bus or eat.

"Others are creating makeshift products or even recycling used pads, which is unhygienic and can put their health at risk from infection or sickness, all because they cannot afford sanitary products."

Major Pam Waugh, from the Salvation Army, said food banks around the country were rarely donated women's hygiene products yet they were an essential for families.

"The response online to donations of sanitary products have been outstanding, but that's only reaching the main centres and we absolutely know there is a need for these products across New Zealand.

"There are too many young women going without basic hygiene products and sadly we know some are resorting to theft, which has resulted in our young women getting convictions and sentencing."

Owner of Parakai Four Square Daniel Dale has also decided to do his bit to help.

From Easter Monday until the end of April he will donate one pack of Pams or Neu brand sanitary items to the Helensville Women and Family Centre for every one bought in his store. With more expensive items he would donate one for every two sold.

"I've seen it in the media for the last couple of months. It spurred me in to doing something with it this time," he said.

Mr Dale said Pams had come on board and offered to provide the products at a discounted price to help cover the cost of the donated items.

The campaign would include about 40 products including nappies, toothbrushes and razors as well as sanitary items.

Mr Dale was hoping to be able to donate a couple of thousand items.

He said Pams and Neu had also signalled they were willing to talk to other store owners about running similar campaigns.

- NZ Herald

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