Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment has been a top priority for the American public, but there is also a growing need for other materials, such as menstrual products. In an effort to help her community during the pandemic, one former Brandeis student helped start an initiative to send menstrual products to areas in need, including the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, as stated in a recent post on Facebook.

Linzy Rosen ’22, co-founder of Period@Brandeis, realized that correctional facilities and underprivileged areas are facing shortages of period products because of COVID-19. In an effort to combat this, Rosen teamed up with Diya Khullar, a Northeastern graduate, to start Menstrual Products for NJ, an initiative to donate menstrual products to homeless shelters, correctional facilities and underprivileged areas. As Rosen told the Justice in a May 27 interview over zoom, “Many times, there's no budget or any funding directly for period products. It's kind of like whatever they have left, they can spend on them. And now as facilities need to kind of scale up on PPE, they're experiencing cuts so overall they are not able to meet that demand.” With this project, as well as with her work while she was on campus, Rosen aims to make the subject of menstruation less taboo. 

While Menstrual Products for NJ is currently only serving local facilities in the Union and Essex counties of New Jersey, Rosen believes that there are similar programs being conducted throughout the country. Khullar set up a Facebook page with information and updates on the cause for those who are interested. 

Rosen told the Justice that in the first week of running the drive, she was able to raise over $700 and purchase more than 3,000 pads, 500 tampons and 88 panty liners. “We're able to get donations and money to buy products in bulk, so you're able to get a lot for small amounts of money,” Rosen explained. 

Additionally, in light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the country, Rosen and Khullar announced on the Menstrual Products for NJ Facebook page that “every donation to us in the name of #BlackLivesMatter up to $1,500 will be matched and sent directly to the Black Lives Matter foundation.” In an email to the Justice, Diya Khullar, co-founder of Menstrual Products for Jersey, stated that she decided to donate part of the fundings to the NAACP because “[it] pursues equity in economic sustainability, education, health, public safety, political representation, and youth engagement in advocacy, and I wanted to contribute to this to help address issues with systemic racism at their roots!” On June 6, a receipt was posted to show that a donation of $1,250 had been matched to the NAACP.

While she was on campus, Rosen worked with Period@Brandeis to end the stigma surrounding menstruation. Since the club’s inauguration in the spring of 2019, Rosen organized a Period Day rally and most recently ran a drive for period products as students left campus due to COVID-19. 

To support Menstrual Products for NJ, people can send a donation to @MenstrualProductsForNJ via Venmo. 

Since meeting with the Justice, Rosen has announced that she will be transferring to Colby College.

-Justice Editor Sofia Gonzalez contributed to reporting.