Since 2012, No More Secrets has been working to combat period poverty across Philadelphia. In order to increase access to menstrual products and education, the Mt. Airy-based nonprofit — founded by sexual health counselor Lynette Medley — delivers three-month supplies of feminine hygiene products throughout the city to those who need them, and works to dismantle the systemic racial inequities within the menstrual health space.
According to Medley, she and her daughter Nya McGlone have distributed over six million menstrual products in 2021 alone. And last February, they opened a menstrual hub in Germantown called The SPOT Period. There, underserved communities can gain education, counseling, products and hygiene care, including clean water and operable toilets.
As of late April, No More Secrets has continued their expansion efforts with the SPOT on the Go! Mobile Menstrual Health Unit. The van allows Medley and McGlone the ability to transport their products and services — like shots, boosters, menstrual resources and wellness checks — to and from community pop-up events that No More Secrets will host across the region.
Medley says she came up with the idea for the van on March 1st of 2021, shortly after opening the brick-and-mortar location. In this way, the mobile menstrual health unit is a direct expansion of the services provided at The SPOT Period. “We plan to use the mobile menstrual health unit as a community resource to provide menstrual products, and spread awareness and education about menstrual health and wellness,” Medley says. “Our intentions are to reach recipients on a larger scale because we are bringing the services directly to their communities.”
No More Secrets plans to launch an online form to request a pop-up from the mobile menstrual health unit, which will go live on their website soon. Medley says the mobile addition will “drastically improve No More Secrets’ period advocacy and benefit disadvantaged persons by bringing the SPOT’s model to their schools, neighborhoods, campuses and churches, and making an immediate impact.” Many individuals within these marginalized communities, she says, have “the highest instances of uterine fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS,” making the van instrumental in developing a harm reduction model and ending the silent suffering brought on by societal stigmas related to menstruation.
“Although menstrual care and uterine wellness are essential to whole-body health, they’re often last on the list for low-income families, elderly individuals and other disadvantaged members of our community,” she says. “The SPOT on the Go!’s services aim to shift that narrative.”
This story originally appeared in Philadelphia magazine and is reprinted here as part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Next City and Philly Mag are two of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly; read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow at @brokeinphilly.
Laura Brzyski is the health and wellness editor for Philadelphia magazine.