This woman is on a mission to end period poverty: 'It's like a miracle'

"Good People" profiles everyday individuals who are bettering the lives of those in need and improving their communities.

Lynette Medley is on a mission to help women in her community who are unable to afford feminine hygiene products by supplying them with free tampons and pads.

The 50-year-old Philadelphia native founded No More Secrets Mind Body Spirit Inc., which she calls one of the nation's first and only comprehensive sexuality awareness organizations, in order to combat the issue of "period poverty," the inability to purchase or have access to feminine hygiene products due to financial restraints.

"Do you know how it is to have to ask someone for a pad or a tampon?" Medley told In The Know. "It's humbling to have to tell someone that I'm using toilet paper. I had to have my daughter use toilet paper. It's a nationwide epidemic. But if you think about it, anywhere that poverty exists, this would exist, and no one's talking about it because of the stigma and taboo."

On top of offering counseling and educational workshops to empower women and normalize the menstrual cycle, Medley's program gives out free feminine hygiene products to individuals and their families.

"They have diaper banks throughout the city, you can get free diapers, but you couldn't get feminine hygiene products. It is not a luxury, it should be included as a medical necessity," she said. 

"We created the first and only feminine hygiene bank in the city of Philadelphia, serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Now, we're upwards to a hundred-plus deliveries a week, all over the city, so that people can have a normal way of life."

Taniya Bennett, a recipient of products through the program, called Medley's work nothing short of life-changing. 

"When you reach out to [Medley] and she drops you off a big pink bag or sometimes a red container, it's like, oh my God, I have supplies for months, I have supplies for weeks." Bennett said. "It's like a miracle."

Nya McGlone, the executive director of No More Secrets Mind Body Spirit Inc., described the impact of the program on the community as "humongous."

"It's such a life-changing thing, just seeing people smile and just happy this is happening," she told In The Know. "It's such a need. I can't even believe that (period poverty) even exists in this country."

Medley says that since there are no grants currently available to fund her work, she has been forced to rely on GoFundMe campaigns and donation drives to stay afloat — which can prove challenging. 

"People are like, 'Why do you keep doing it? You're not getting money. You're not getting paid,'" Medley said. "And I said, I can't imagine they consider it a luxury when these people are so far from being in luxury. The uncomfortability [sic]  of wearing a sock or newspaper, to me, it just makes no sense."

"And I guess I'm just trying to understand why it's still happening," she added. "But I just have to keep doing it."

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