The Pink Box Initiative – Shelter-in-Place Edition

Carla Roberts, Staff Reporter

Sequoia’s resident Young Feminist’s Club is back on the grind, even despite the shelter-in-place mandate issued a little over a month ago. During the shelter-in-place, the club’s only male member, Alessandro Keshap, developed an idea to continue distributing menstrual products to those in need. 

The club decided to make care packages (each containing 5 pads and 5 tampons) to make available along with school lunches. One of the club’s co-presidents, Sophia Cattalini, was on the front lines of the initiative: 

“The individual packs help maintain our goals for the Pink Box Project: accessibility, convenience, confidentiality. Students who may have trouble affording or accessing these products at home can still pick them up from Sequoia.” Cattalini said, “When lunches moved to the district office, we made sure to get our baggies there as well.” 

Ms. DaCosta Pinto, an art teacher at Sequoia and the club’s supervisor, told GLI (Girls Leadership International) coordinators about the initiative. Soon afterward, it gained traction when Ashley Steimer-King, the organization’s program director, reached out to the Femiist Majority Foundation (of which GLI is a subsidiary.) 

“FMF runs Ms. Magazine, which is how we ended up being featured in the magazine,” Cattalini said.

Separately, GLI’s NorCal coordinator Ellen Flamen reached out to me to organize a way to spread this idea to the larger community,” Cattalini says, “She gathered three other GLI students in Northern California to help design a pilot project.”

The pilot project is a donation network to increase access to free menstrual products. The project is called “Campaign for Menstrual Equity” and is scheduled to launch within the next week. 

“We are relying on Amazon wishlists and strong community networking to help the larger Bay Area have access to free pads and tampons during the unique challenges COVID poses,” Cattalini says.