Making a Difference: Teens start group to fight ‘period poverty’

OAKWOOD — Never did a teenager and her mother expect to be so emotionally moved while standing in the grocery store checkout lane.

It inspired the Oakwood teen and three friends to “Make a Difference” and form Femme Aid Collaborative.

In my 27+ years of tv, this is my first time ever focusing on this subject matter. Friday at 545p on WHIO-TV, I hope you can see how 4 high school teenagers are “Making a Difference.” Femme Aid Collaborative

Posted by James Brown WHIO on Friday, March 29, 2019

Ryann Mescher, her mother and a friend watched as a woman in front of them couldn’t afford everything in her cart.

“I was so shocked,” Mescher said. “This woman in front of us kept asking the cashier, kept saying, ‘Tell me when to stop.’”

The woman had a limited amount of money, and when she ran out she started taking feminine hygiene products out of her cart. Mescher’s mom stepped in and paid for the feminine products.

“My mom got in the car and we were all crying,” Mescher said. “We didn’t realize the problem.”

That moment inspired Mescher and her friends Dana Clark, Claire Parker and Zoe Waller to take action.

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The four Oakwood sophomores started doing their research and found that one in four women struggles to pay for items needed for their period.

They created Femme Aid Collaborative to help those women get the products they need each month.

“Part of the reason we’re doing it is because people don’t want to talk about it,” Clark said. “It’s uncomfortable for a lot of people.”

While Mescher admitted that it can be awkward talking to men about ending “period poverty,” the teens are committed to their cause.

“In 2019, our goal is to distribute 100,000 menstrual hygiene products to nonprofit agencies in Dayton,” Waller said.

The teens even brought the issue before the Dayton City Commission.

Each day, more people are inspired and more people are donating to Femme Aid. So far, Femme Aid has bought and paid for 25,000 feminine hygiene products.

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can visit the  Femme Aid website.

If you know someone Making a Difference in the community, James Brown wants to hear from you. Send him a message on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JamesBrownWHIO/" shape="rect" target="_self">Facebook</a> or email him at James.Brown@whiotv.com