Free feminine hygiene products now available at Mount Forest arena

MOUNT FOREST – Last Friday, a dream in the making for Kay Ayres came true. 

Ayres and Drew Nelson unveiled a free feminine hygiene product dispenser in the Mount Forest arena.

“This is pretty awesome,” said Ayres at the opening ceremony for the dispenser on April 12.

“I’d like to welcome you to the unveiling of our very first ‘Women’s Needs, Period!’ vending machine.”

Ayres told the crowd of local politicians and Mount Forest Lions Club and Leo Club members that two months ago, Nelson came to her asking if she knew of any needs in town.

She said perhaps the only need she knew of at the time was one mentioned to her by a friend about “period poverty.”

“I actually didn’t really understand a lot about it … I figured for sure Drew would run to the north end of Mount Forest and hide underneath a bush,” Ayres said jokingly.

Nelson and Ayres then met with Wellington North recreation supervisor Nick Brock.

During the meeting Ayres said they discussed “figuring out where would be the best spot for [a hygiene product dispenser].”

“It was Nick that suggested right here in the arena, right between the two washrooms,” said Ayres. “His next [suggestion] was that we also put one in Arthur.”

Ayres explained having it in both towns would require the involvement of the township, which has now installed the current machine and will store the product and order more when needed.

When the invoice comes in, it is sent to Nelson and Ayres to “write a check for it.”

Nora, left, and Ashur helped unveil the new machine. Photo by Nicole Beswitherick


The dispenser in Mount Forest was the first one to come in, which is why it was the first installed. Nelson and Ayres are still waiting for Arthur’s dispenser to arrive.

The Mount Forest Seniors Group made the first donation for the Mount Forest dispenser, and Ayres said other donations were made as well.

“We had a little bit of criticism; that didn’t deter us. But overall it’s been great, positive feedback. And today we are here,” said Ayres.

Nelson explained the Mount Forest Lions Club sponsored the first machine and it is still looking for someone to sponsor the one in Arthur.

“We also have the Mount Forest Leo’s, who are a newish group to town… and they have graciously donated $300 for our first order of products,” said Nelson.

He added costs will continue to go up, but other businesses and organizations have also stepped up to help with the cause.

Perth-Wellington MPP Matthew Rae congratulated Ayres and Nelson and said, “I want to thank the township for being so cooperative … I think it speaks volumes that you have a township that’s being there and being so supportive in [this] initiative.

“It’s great to see the community come together… [and] ensuring that the products are available there for those who need it when they need it.”

Wellington North Ward 2 councillor Sherry Burke was also at the unveiling representing mayor Andy Lennox and Wellington North council. 

She brought some statistics along to share with the group.

“It is estimated that 500 million women and girls lack access to basic menstrual hygiene products,” she said, adding “poor menstrual hygiene can not only lead to physical health issues, but also mental health issues.”

Burke added, “I think this is a great initiative for our community. The Leo’s, the Lions, it’s always great to partner with you as well. 

“So thanks for bringing this accessible product to [the women and girls who need it].”

After speeches concluded, the new machine was unveiled by Leo Club members Nora and Ashur.