ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Food insecurity continues for many during this pandemic, but low access to personal care products affects low-income families as well. Regional Food Bank of North Eastern New York has partnered up with Bank of America for the Care Necessities Campaign to shine a light on personal hygiene product accessibility.
The food bank serves 23 different counties from Plattsburgh to Newburgh, but donations and funding for personal care products is in high demand and low supply for many low-income families in New York.
Mary Mazur, Food Industry Relations and Food Drive Coordinator, said one of the barriers to making products like toilet paper and soap more accessible, is that low-income families must prioritize other necessities first. Additionally, these products aren’t covered by SNAP Benefits—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“Unfortunately, for a lot of these families that are low-income they have to make that decision, do I buy a few extra cans of soup this week or do I buy a tube of toothpaste,” Mazur said.
For many low-income moms, those decisions put their needs at the bottom of the list.
“As a mom, it’s safe to say, I would do absolutely anything for my kids. If that means I buy that case of diapers and I go without a meal or two or three? I would be completely okay with doing that,” Mazur said.
Mazur said, in addition to diapers, feminine hygiene products are in high demand for mothers in need.
“As we all know, if you do not have access to feminine hygiene products, you’re probably not going to go to work. If you’re a girl, you’re probably going to have to miss a few days of school,” Mazur said.
This sometimes forces mothers to use paper towels from public restrooms or hand towels from home instead of those feminine hygiene products.
“You know, a lot of it too is helping people maintain a level of dignity,” Mazur said.
Because the Food Bank has special relationships with productions companies, Mazur said the best thing an individual can do to help is to give a donation to the Care Necessities Campaign online directly.