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International Women’s Day initiative supporting women living in poverty

Regina Leader-Post with Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen 07 March 2019

To live in poverty is difficult enough, but as a woman it can be even harder if you have to choose between buying food for your children or feminine hygiene products for yourself.

“When we can provide women with access to some of those things that are real barriers … then poverty is made easier and some of those decisions don’t have to be so difficult,” said YWCA Regina CEO Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen.

As an organization that works to remove barriers to women faced with poverty, she said feminine hygiene products are one of the top five items the YWCA needs.

“Any time that we have menstrual products at our front table or when they come into our building, they leave very, very quickly,” she said.

That’s why Coomber-Bendtsen is excited about a new partnership with Hillberg & Berk, which will help supply women and girls with feminine hygiene products as part of an International Women’s Day initiative.

The Saskatchewan-based jewelry company has released the Venus Pin, a silver pin in the shape of the Venus symbol with the words celebrate your power on the side.

The pin retails at $45 and the sale of one pin will provide a woman or girl with a six-month supply of feminine hygiene products.

“Can you imagine going a day without having access as something as basic as feminine hygiene products? It’s hard for us to even imagine that, but there are women who are in that situation,” said Hillberg & Berk CEO Rachel Mielke.

“Until you fill that basic need, she can’t possibly empower herself to do whatever she needs to take the next step in building her life back,” she said.

Hillberg & Berk has partnered with the YWCA in Regina and Saskatoon, the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre in Winnipeg, the Safe Haven Foundation of Canada, EGADZ in Saskatoon, the Alex Community Health Centre in Calgary and No Woman Without in Edmonton.

They hope to raise $100,000 over the next year.

“When we realized what a challenge it is for some women to get access to feminine hygiene products we realized that was a critical need that needed to be supported,” said Mielke.

Pins can be purchased online or at any of Hillberg & Berk’s eight storefront locations.