The Church Club of New York is excited to present the Young Adult of the Year Service Award to Caroline Angell of The Church of the Epiphany. Caroline has taken a stand and created RACKET, an initiative formed to help reduce the needless stigma and shame surrounding periods. RACKET aims to redefine feminine hygiene products as essential, to provide all women to these products, and to encourage open dialogue about menstruation.
Caroline dedication to RACKET has extended past her own parish, where she has encouraged other parishes and organizations to get involved and cause a “racket” to change the laws and conversations about women’s menstruation.
Get involved in the conversation and be part of the change, by joining The Church Club of New York on July 22nd at Grace Church, as they present the Third Annual Young Adult of the Year Service Award to Caroline Angell.
Learn more about Caroline and why she deserves the award through her written personal statement. Together let’s cause a “racket” by sharing Caroline’s story.
Since 2011, my friend Margo and I have been volunteering on Wednesday nights for the homeless dinner program at The Church of the Epiphany on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. After reading an article in the Huffington Post that affected us deeply as women, we decided to speak to some of our Wednesday dinner guests about their access to feminine hygiene products.
Through conversation and research, we discovered three things:
Feminine hygiene products are not considered essential
These products are not covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better know as the food stamp program. Specific hygiene needs are not always met at shelters that are co-gendered without a donor who prioritizes these items.
Access to choices about feminine hygiene, and to the products themselves, is connected to privilege
Out-of-product expenses for what is deemed by lawmakers to be a non-essential product can be upwards of &70 yearly. Additionally, New York is one of the 40 states to have a tampon tax. Only five states with sales tax have elected to eliminate a sales tax on pads and tampons at present. Showers and bathroom access are often regulated in shelters, and may not always be available for increased use during menstruation.
No one wants to talk about periods
The subject is historically taboo, and has largely fallen under the radar as policymakers (many of whom have never had a period) haven’t made menstrual health a priority.
After making these discoveries, we started collecting feminine hygiene products in drives at churches, theaters and nightclubs and discovered; people want to help! We were overwhelmed by the positive response, donations and energy. Even George Takei (Star Trek, Broadway’s Allegiance) wrote us a check. We have now distributed over 15,00 feminine hygiene products through New York Rescue Mission and Covenant House, and we are just getting started.
Our goal is to make a lot of noise about this issue, in order to draw attention to a need that has been ignored for far too long.
In the rest of my life, I grew up in Endwell, NY, the daughter of an electrical engineer and a public school music teacher. I have a B.A. in musical theater from American University, and currently live and work in Manhattan. My debut novel, All the Time in the World, will be published by Henry Holt & Co. in July of 2016. In addition to writing, direction and my ministry at Epiphany, I also work part-time taking care of children in New York.”
– Caroline Angell