The term “period poverty” refers to inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education. According to estimates by the Huffington Post, menstruation-related products can cost more than $18,000 in a person’s lifetime. A 2019 Obstetrics & Gynecology Survey study found that nearly two-thirds of low-income women in a large U.S. city couldn’t afford products such as tampons or pads—an issue only made worse since by the effects of COVID-19.

On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, Parkside Lutheran Church in Buffalo, N.Y. kicked off a Lenten challenge to collect pads, tampons and other menstruation-related products, which will then be donated to local pantries and shelters.

“No person should struggle for access to period products.”

“During the season of Lent, Christians are encouraged to practice extra acts of generosity,” Parkside wrote on its Facebook page. People began contributing in person, but on Feb. 19, an Amazon Wish List was also created for those outside the Parkside community to take part in the collection. By Feb. 25, the Wish List had sold out. The congregation quickly added much more to the list.

“You are all amazing,” Parkside wrote on its Facebook page on Feb. 26, as items for the collection continued to pour in. “No person should struggle for access to period products.”

On Feb. 28, Parkside reported that it was at “easily over” 10,000 products donated—and that it still had four weeks to go. “Sanctuaries don’t need to be neat and tidy,” Parkside wrote on social media, alongside a photo of its sanctuary filled with items for its collection. “They are simply a place for praise. And today, this is what praising God looks like.”

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