SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Inflation hikes and supply chain problems have caused a shortage of sanitary products nationwide. WSAV spoke with a local diaper and period product supply bank to learn more about how it has impacted the Coastal Empire.

“What we’re seeing is this is just one more additional cost that people are struggling to afford,” said Beth Crowley, Over the Moon board member.

Nationwide, the cost of period products like pads and tampons has gone up roughly 10% and with more than 28% of the population in Chatham County living at or below the poverty line, one local organization says they’ve seen the need rise locally.

“We have seen a huge increase in the request to support people during their monthly periods with products,” Crowley said.

Over the Moon supplies diapers and period supplies to seven different counties in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

“We are the only period supply bank that is recognized by the Alliance of Period Supplies here in Savannah and in the Lowcountry,” Crowley said.

Last month alone, the organization distributed more than 5,000 period products locally. Advocates say a lack of accessibility to pads and tampons is a health issue.

“Some people will substitute with things like toilet paper while they have their period and that can lead to health issues,” Crowley said.

In response to rising costs, many states are rolling back the sales tax on period products, but Georgia currently taxes tampons and pads at 4%. Because they’re considered hygiene items instead of essential products, they aren’t covered by federal assistance programs like SNAP.

“When you need these products you cannot use any type of federal assistance to purchase them, so on top of a 4% tax and that the cost for one box of pads or one box of tampons right now is averaging about $10, that really causes someone to hesitate to purchase them each month,” Crowley said.

With demand increasing, Over the Moon is partnering with several local businesses to stock and supply free period kits in restrooms so more people have access.

They can always use more volunteers to help put together the kits and more donations. To find out how you can help, click or tap here.