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29 August 2023: Countdown and its supply partners are getting behind efforts by charity The Period Place to level up discussion around periods and raise products and funds with a national appeal starting today.

The cycle-long appeal, which kicks off on 28 August, sees a donation of 5 cents from the sale of every U By Kotex, Libra, Carefree, Stayfree, Tampax, Oi, TOM, Bonds, Vagisil and Femfresh period product go to The Period Place, with the same suppliers also dipping in by donating a single period product (e.g. tampon, sanitary pad, cup, underwear or liner) for every pack sold.

Countdown will also top up the charity with a one-off $20,000 cash donation.

“Now I just need bloody legends across New Zealand to do their shop as normal,” says Danika Revell, founder of The Period Place.

Revell says that Kiwis young and old are still not having the conversations around periods that they need to, and in turn some people aren’t accessing what they need.

When Countdown approached her about support, she saw first the power of having her period chat messaging front and centre at its supermarkets up and down the country, while also being able to provide the multi-faceted help she offers on the daily to individuals, social services and food banks.

“Starting conversations around periods is high on my agenda, alongside facilitating product to those that need it. This appeal will achieve both.

“Countdown has been progressive in removing the ‘bad blood’ around period chat. First by having the word ‘period’ in every Countdown in the country and now dedicating a month to the cause.”

Countdown was the first supermarket in the world to change terminology from ‘sanitary products’ and ‘personal hygiene’ to ‘period care’ in 2020 to normalise the language around periods.

Kiwi gynaecologist Dr Amelia Ryan from the Waitemata District Health Board is pleased the conversation of periods is in the limelight this month. She says that seems small, but it’s a significant step to removing any stigma still associated with periods.

“Open conversations about periods will not only help to remove the stigma for something that is completely natural, but also enable people with periods to identify any problems and confidently seek advice if needed.

“All genders and all ages must be made more aware of periods with reliable information. These conversations will facilitate period friendly schools and workplaces, create supportive partners and competent and understanding parents, teachers and doctors”, says Ryan.

Danika Revell says everyone has a part to play.

“Whether you’re starting more conversations about periods, or able to help get more period products to people in need by purchasing yours from Countdown over this appeal, it all helps our mahi,” says Danika.

Danika Revell shares 5 things we should be talking about when it comes to periods:

‘Talking about periods’ isn’t something that happens once - it’s an ongoing process throughout different stages of childhood and adulthood

There is no one way and there is no right way to have a period - if someone wants to chart their cycle and go with the flow of things naturally or someone else wants to use hormonal contraception to not have a period, both of those are bloody OK too

If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right - we know when something is wrong with our bodies, no matter what age or gender we are. If something feels off with your menstrual cycle, then speak to someone, DO NOT WAIT. Write down details, and advocate for yourself

Toilet paper is available in every bathroom outside the home, but disposable period products aren’t AND THEY BLOODY SHOULD BE! Society accepts bodily functions happen, and accepts that outside the home, the cost of taking care of those bodily functions in a safe and hygienic way is shared by everyone in society. Workplaces have toilet paper, and so do cafes and restaurants, public toilets and portaloos. It makes sense that every bathroom outside the home has pads and tampons available, just like it does toilet paper

You can do something to eliminate period stigma in your house - simply grab your period products out of the drawer and put them next to the toilet! It’ll mean they are available (for you, those in your home, or guests) to use when needed, and it’ll spark discussions

The campaign is running in all Countdown supermarkets across the country from 28 August until 23 September.