Food bank starts providing free sanitary products to women

A food bank Image copyright AFP / Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of women who use food banks might not have access to sanitary products, the Salvation Army said.

A food bank has started to provide free sanitary products to women who are unable to afford them.

Salvation Army volunteers in Darlington realised they were meeting an important need after giving out free tampons in a trial four months ago.

The charity believes thousands of hard-up women across the United Kingdom could be in a similar position.

Spokesman Colin Bradshaw said some women had used "rags and handkerchiefs" and were hospitalised due to infection.

He estimated between 30 to 40 women have taken sanitary products each month.

Women had never asked for tampons in the past, Mr Bradshaw said, but were "in tears" when they were offered them.

He said: "For some women this was the first time they had used sterilised products in a long time.

"We were shocked to discover the shame women feel because they cannot afford sanitary products."

He said the food bank's supply of sanitary products were due to run out after Christmas and appealed for donations in January.

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