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Santa Cruz County launches free menstrual products program

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- Santa Cruz is making feminine menstrual products free for the community.

It's a pilot program launched by the county. Workers installed dispensers at the Santa Cruz Health Center on Friday. Dispensers were also installed inside the men's bathrooms. 

The health center is one of the locations where people can get free period products.

People can grab as many menstrual products as needed. 

Santa Cruz County reps said with costs going up, it wants to make these products more accessible to the community. 

“About one in five people live below the poverty line in Santa Cruz County. So we want to make sure they have free access to these health products anytime they need them,” said Jason Hoppin, a spokesperson with the county. “They can just come on by and pick one up from any of these restrooms. Then we're going to monitor and take in some data and look at the usage here and if it's a very popular program we will consider expanding it in the future. “

The county also said the goal of the program is to make sure everyone has access to important health products. 

“Free and equal access to health products promotes health equity, and no one should be forced to choose between purchasing hygiene products or food and shelter,” Supervisor Zach Friend said. “I’m pleased the County is joining a growing movement in addressing these inequities.

County facilities that are offering the free menstrual products include:

• 1080 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, First & Second floors

• 1020 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, First & Second floors

• 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, First & Fifth floors

 • 1430 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, Suites B, C & D

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46

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