Countdown encourages customers to give generously to young Kiwi women in need

20 March 2017: For the next two weeks (Monday 20 March until Sunday 5 April) Countdown is offering a range of cheaper sanitary products at $4 each, and encouraging customers to donate a pack to The Salvation Army, either in-store or online via The Foodbank Project foodbank.org.nz.

To kick start the campaign, Countdown has donated $5000 of sanitary products to The Salvation Army and is calling on customers to take advantage of the cheaper prices and buy an extra pack or two for women in need.

In July last year, Countdown worked with Labour MP Louisa Wall and The Salvation Army to launch online donations of sanitary products which are distributed through eight Salvation Army foodbank hubs.  To date almost $40,000 worth of sanitary products has been donated.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs James Walker says, “Women’s sanitary products are a necessity item that can become hard to fit into the budget when you’re under financial pressure.

“Over the next two weeks, we’re encouraging customers to take advantage of discounted prices and donate a pack to young women through our specially marked Food Rescue bins in store.  This small gesture will make a big difference and go a long way to helping women who might be struggling to afford these products each month.

“Since launching in eight months ago, through The Foodbank Project www.foodbank.org.nz, more than 11,000 sanitary products have already been donated.  However we can all do more and we think our customers may be able to help us with this cause,” he says.

Louisa Wall, Manurewa MP and Labour Youth Affairs spokesperson says that the initiative was originally inspired by the needs of young women and their advocacy.

“We want to make sure that all females, whether at school, university, or working are able to access female products that helps support their full participation at school, on the sports field and in society.

“Female sanitary products are not a luxury, but for young Kiwi women on tight budgets they’re an expense that’s hard to afford. Without these products, young women are staying at home and missing precious time at school or University.” she says.

“We know that some women and young girls are choosing to stay home when they have their period and university students are choosing not to catch the bus or eat. Others are creating makeshift products or even recycling used pads, which is unhygienic and can put their health at risk from infection or sickness, all because they cannot afford sanitary products.

“We must make sanitary products more accessible and this initiative will certainly contribute to that outcome, “says Louisa Wall.

Major Pam Waugh from The Salvation Army says foodbanks around the country are rarely donated women’s hygiene products yet they’re an essential for families.

“The response online to donations of sanitary products have been outstanding, but that’s only reaching the main centres and we absolutely know there is a need for these products across New Zealand.

“There are too many young women going without basic hygiene products and sadly we know some are resorting to theft, which has resulted in our young women getting convictions and sentencing, adding to their shame.

“Donating through Countdown is an easy thing to do and The Salvation Army makes sure donations get where they need to go.”

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