(WYTV) – Inflation has caused prices of feminine hygiene products to rise drastically. This week’s Hometown Heroes created a way to relieve the financial burden.

The Youngstown City Health District now has a Women’s Pantry. It provides products many women need for free.

Multiple heroes made this happen, including Youngstown 5th Ward Councilwoman Lauren McNally.
She says poverty surrounds feminine hygiene products for all women.

“The schools were calling and saying, ‘Hey, these girls are missing a week of school every month because they don’t have access to these products.'” Immediately, myself and our health commissioner said let’s put this together,” McNally said.

Health Commissioner Erin Bishop approved the idea. Work on the women’s pantry started quickly.

“I had to put the team together and the next thing I know, they’re bringing things in here, the shelving, calling different people in the community,” Bishop said.

Golie Stennis runs the pantry. She says it’s served over 100 women in Youngstown in two months.
Which fills her with joy.

“I can almost cry because I know I’m making a difference, and I’m not just making a difference with the young, I’m making a difference with the elderly,” Stennis said.

McNally and Bishop hope the pantry will bring women financial relief.

“This is something that people do need and it’s expensive, and to know that we’re all in it together and we just want to make sure that our residents have this,” Bishop said.

There are plans to make the Women’s Pantry mobile. Bishop hopes to get a van that can take the pantry around Youngstown. Stennis says a mobile Women’s Pantry can reach more people.

“It would be even better because we’re coming to their neighborhood so that they don’t have to try to get on the bus or catch a ride to come down here,” Stennis said. “We could schedule days that we will be there and they know it and they can line up. We can serve even more.”

The Women’s Pantry is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find it at the health department’s office downtown on West Front Street.

The Youngstown City Health District, this week’s WYTV Hometown Hero.