Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Moms on a Mission tackles period poverty

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2020 | 12:07 AMDanae Hyman/ Gleaner Writer
Determined to combat period poverty, Moms on a Mission makes a monthly donation of sanitary napkins to the York Castle High and St Ann’s Bay Primary schools.
Determined to combat period poverty, Moms on a Mission makes a monthly donation of sanitary napkins to the York Castle High and St Ann’s Bay Primary schools.

AIMING TO tackle period poverty in St Ann, a group of mothers, bonded together through their drive to help others, have made it their point of duty to do a monthly distribution of sanitary napkins at two schools within the parish, with the intention of expanding to many more institutions.

Moms on a Mission, as they have dubbed themselves, was founded by Marcia Rankinson-Stanley.

“I have always been a giver. I have always thought that if I was blessed with something, then there is always something to share. This charity is not the only one I do. I have presented groceries to the elderly for the last 10 years or more, so it is just a part of me,” shared Rankinson-Stanley with The Gleaner.

Although the mother of three is a frequent volunteer and is known throughout the parish for her generosity towards the less fortunate, she said that most of her previous donations to York Castle High School, one of the schools benefiting from the group’s kindness, were aimed at the male population, she being a mother of all boys.

“What hit me last year was when Terri-Karelle Reid spoke of the need of girls in Jamaica for sanitary pads, and the stories were terrible and a bit unbelievable. I then took on the challenge and called Mrs Edwards (one of the vice-principals at the school) to say I am going to switch from what I normally do and put all the efforts into getting the sanitary napkins for the girls,” Rankinson-Stanley said.

Sherine Allen-Cole, another member of the Moms on a Mission charity group, and a teacher at York Castle High School, said that although the donations of sanitary napkins might sound basic, it is transforming the lives of numerous students at the school who cannot afford to purchase the essential monthly product.

The group donates 48 packs of sanitary napkins to the school every month and 36 packs to St Ann’s Bay Primary School, the second beneficiary of the initiative.

Students are in need

“Being in a school setting, you would be surprised to know how many students are in need. Sometimes you will see them walking on the compound, and because you don’t know their story, you would not understand,” Allen-Cole shared.

Antonette Brown-Edwards, vice-principal at York Castle responsible for its welfare programme, said she is extremely thankful to the group for its donations as it has improved the lives of numerous girls who, before the start of the initiative, were unable to attend school during their time of the month.

According to Brown-Edwards, while she is not sure of the exact number of students who are benefiting because of her anonymous distribution strategy to avoid embarrassment, most form teachers have reported a decline in the number of monthly absences from the students.

“All I do is give the box to the guidance department for them to disburse. There are still about five that come to me in particular, so I just keep some in my office and give them a pack each month, and then you have the individual ones that will come if they have an accident,” Brown-Edwards said.

She added: “We were seeing girls being absent from school that time of month because of the problem they were having, but I get feedback now to say that isn’t happening anymore, so I know the initiative is working effectively”.

To learn more about the Moms on a Mission initiative, email rgrankine@hotmail.com.

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danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com