Warren girl seeks to stomp out ‘period poverty’

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published May 7, 2024

 Monica Papasian, Mayor Lori Stone and Olive Papasian place a period product drive collection box in front of the mayor’s office in City Hall.

Monica Papasian, Mayor Lori Stone and Olive Papasian place a period product drive collection box in front of the mayor’s office in City Hall.

Photo provided by Monica Papasian


WARREN — Nine-year-old Olive Papasian has always had a passion to help others. At 7 years old, she saw a donation jar and gave to provide feminine hygiene products for homeless women because the products were not available in the shelter.

Today, she has spearheaded a drive to collect period products for girls in her community.

“One out of five girls miss school because they don’t have period products,” said Olive Papasian. “So what we’re doing with the drive is all the stuff we get is going to Lincoln High School for the girls (who need the products) when school starts back up and (for) period packages for the summer.”

“A summer care package will be provided for every girl in need to get her through the summer worry-free,” said Monica Papasian, Olive’s mother.

The period product drive started April 23 and runs through May 31. Suggested donations are pads, tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, feminine wipes and feminine soaps. The packages or boxes may be opened, but the individual items must still be wrapped.

“The tampons collected will be available in school but not part of the summer package,” said Monica Papasian. “Many of the girls can’t use them and I don’t want them to go to waste.”

The donation boxes are located throughout the city at various businesses including outside of Warren Mayor Lori Stone’s office in City Hall.

“I am very proud of Olive. I am inspired by our young people who are stepping up to find solutions to problems they’re seeing in the community,” Stone said. “Period poverty is an issue I was involved with in the state Legislature. I am proud to stand with community members that are finding solutions. Community service projects that collect products to be distributed especially to students, is a fantastic idea and I can’t wait to see the results.”

Other donation box locations for the drive are as follows: Old 13 Barber Company, Redrunn Skate Shop, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company in Warren, The Dovetail, Studio 9 Salon in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township, AAA Macomb on Hall Road, AAA Warren on Mound Road, and all Warren Public Library branches.

Monetary donations are accepted. Checks can be made payable to The Papasian Library for Equity and Inclusion with “Period Product Drive” on the memo line, mailed to 6106 Chicago Road, Warren, MI 48092. All donations are tax deductible, according to Monica Papasian.

The period product drive is the second phase of the initiative. For the first phase, the Papasians mailed letters to Stone, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert Livernois, asking them to make feminine hygiene products available in their buildings for free, said Monica Papasian.

“We heard back from the mayor’s office immediately. They (feminine products) are available at City Hall for free,” said Monica Papasian. “But they realized most people wouldn’t realize it is for free or what it is in the machines on the wall. So they’re working on doing something to make it more inviting and available.”

They have yet to hear from Hackel or Livernois, said Monica Papasian.

The plan for the third phase of the initiative is to approach the governor to find funding to make feminine products available in all schools for free, according to Monica Papasian.

“It’s been really positive. It’s really raised a lot of awareness. There are some men that just had no idea it was an issue or that it wasn’t pretty,” said Monica Papasian about the feedback received about the period product drive. “A lot of people don’t know.”

Period Poverty Awareness Week is May 20-28.