OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Inflation has affected the price of nearly everything. Its effects are felt more drastically when it's a product you have to buy repeatedly, like period products.
According to NielsenIQ, between July 2021 and July 2022, the average price of tampons has risen 10.8% and pads, 8.9%.
Organizations that work with women and girls say it's affecting how they serve the community.
"We serve a lot of women [feminine hygiene products are] pretty important to most women. A lot of our folks are fleeing domestic violence so when you flee a situation like that, or are homeless in general you don’t have stuff to bring with you. You don’t have a way to get things, you don’t have a way to bring things with you, so it’s a pretty big deal," Amy Harvey, Chief Community Relations Officer for Open Door Mission said.
ODM receives donations of feminine hygiene products, which are then distributed to their guests.
"We’re trying to do an entire box of feminine hygiene products as opposed to like two or three because they don’t have the ability to go out and purchase that on their own," Harvey said.
Recently, donations of everything have slowed. Now, ODM says their stock of period products is significantly less than what they usually have. If donations stall and they run out, they'd have to use money from programming to purchase products.
"We do our best to make sure everybody’s got everything. Don’t get me wrong, if we have to go buy it, we will. It’s very important to us we treat the people who come to us with dignity," Harvey said.
Denisha Seals is also feeling that price hike. Seals started the 5,000 Pad Project, working to distribute feminine hygiene products to marginalized communities and end the shame surrounding periods. She began the project from personal experience.
"Growing up in the South Omaha projects and not being able to afford feminine hygiene products, and being in financial situations where it was food or pads ... and sometimes my mom would even go without eating," said Seals, who is also CEO and founder of Water2Spirit.
She's been fundraising to purchase period products and distribute them to Metro Area Youth Services, and coordinates with a UNO faculty member who sends them to Liberia, where she is from. But now, with products being so expensive, that work is becoming harder.
Seals says monetary donations used to go much further than they do today.
"The difference is astronomical," Seals said. "Fifty dollars could previously — in my opinion, before even COVID happened — I could have gotten about 500 pads just with that, versus now I’m lucky if I find something on Target or Walmart or Amazon and get five to ten boxes with any monetary donation."
She's hoping to reach her goal of 5,000 pads by the end of summer, but now it's going to take a bit more money.