Free 2 Teach launches program to provide period products for classrooms

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Free 2 Teach, a Madison County nonprofit, is no stranger to providing teachers with much-needed supplies for their classrooms for free. However, the organization is now hoping to help girls navigate getting access to period products.

Free 2 Teach is doing this through its new program, Free 2 Learn.

‘Barrels of Love’ food drive kicking off in Decatur/Morgan County on Valentine’s Day

Alison Kling, the executive director of Free 2 Teach, says access to these products is something that came up multiple times when talking with school staff.

“In our discussions with teachers and nurses, this issue of period products comes up again and again,” Kling said.

Kling said there are 17,095 girls in middle and high schools in the three public school systems in Madison County.

“What we’ve decided to do with this program is find a really easy way for teachers to be empowered to support girls in their class, and that’s where Free 2 Learn was born,” Kling said.

Singing River Trail accepting “Launch Tank” applications

The Free 2 Learn program will provide free feminine hygiene kits that teachers can store in their classrooms to help students when needed. Each kit consists of pads, liners, wipes, and a pair of underwear that come in a discreet drawstring bag.

“There’s other organizations that do this in other states and in Alabama, and so we looked at how we could make an impact here,” Kling said. “So this [hygiene kit] isn’t hot pink, we’re not walking down the hall with everyone knowing what’s happening, but inside this package is what a girl would need to get through the day.”

Kling said that studies show that almost one-quarter of girls in the United States aren’t able to afford menstrual products. Others may not have the support system at home to be able to ask for the products, and some might just be embarrassed to ask for them. Kling said this program hopes to help solve those barriers for students.

“A student goes through a lot, you know, and a girl on her period, experiencing her period, it can be very difficult and very distracting,” Kling said. “If you’re worried in the back of your mind about how you’re going to handle this, that takes away from learning, and our goal is kids happy and engaged classrooms.”

Spread love by giving blood at News 19, IHeart Radio Valentine’s Blood Drive!

Free 2 Teach is open year-round as a resource for teachers in Madison County Schools, Madison City Schools and Huntsville City Schools. Teachers can go to the store and “shop” for free supplies for their classrooms.

Free 2 Teach is a non-profit and is fully funded by grants and donations, yet just since July of 2023, it has given $1.4 million worth of school supplies to local teachers.

Free 2 Teach hopes the community can help with the Free 2 Learn program. Kling said each feminine hygiene kit costs them about $1.75 to put together.

They encourage anyone interested in helping out to consider donating or even setting up a feminine hygiene supply drive within their organization, church, or workplace. If you would like to set up a supply drive you can email info@free2teach.org for more information.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WHNT.com.