UW-Platteville receives Kimberly-Clark donation, benefiting several campus programs

Pictured left to right are Julie Soja and Stephanie Young.
Pictured left to right are Julie Soja and Stephanie Young.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville received a donation on Friday from Kimberly-Clark totaling more than 280 boxes of diapers and period products, benefiting several campus and community programs. The donation will be distributed to The Red Basket Project at UW-Platteville, Pioneer Provisions, the Children’s Center, and partners of the Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, Inc (SWCAP).

According to Stephanie Young, UW-Platteville Dining Services registered dietitian, The Red Basket Project and Pioneer Provisions provide free period products in all women’s and non-gendered restrooms across UW-Platteville campuses.

“UW-Platteville and Kimberly-Clark are committed to protecting the safety and health of students and families struggling financially,” said Young. “Increasing access to these products can help relieve the burden of having to make the choice between buying period products and diapers or providing other necessities like rent, food or tuition.” 

This fall, the UW-Platteville Children’s Center will introduce an infant program, enrolling infants from six weeks to one-year-old and a toddler program from ages one to two-years-old. Julie Soja, director of the Children’s Center, emphasizes how impactful this gift will be for so many area families. 

“The Children’s Center will use the Huggies Little Snugglers diapers and Huggies Littler Movers diapers for some families that are unable to provide diapers for their children. These families will definitely be grateful for these contributions,” she said. “The center will also use the diapers for families who have provided diapers for their children, but who have temporarily run out of diapers – it will be a great relief to families to not have to be burdened to rush to the store to get diapers right away.” 

Young acknowledges when the topic of basic needs is discussed, people oftentimes forget to put period products and diapers in the same sentence as food, water and shelter. She said during the school year, facilities management helps stock campus restrooms with hygiene items twice a week, with Pioneer Provisions re-stocking a designated shelf once a week.

“Unlike food insecurity on college campuses, which has gained credible awareness, period poverty is a topic discussed much less, but affects students similarly. The financial burden doesn’t only affect performance in school, but physical and mental health as well,” said Young. “For some parents with infants and toddlers, the cost of diapers leaves less room for food, rent or tuition. According to the American Journal of Public Health, one in three families in the U.S. have a diaper need.”

SWCAP, a nonprofit organization located in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, supports five southwestern Wisconsin counties including Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette and Richland. 

"Our programs are thrilled to be receiving products like diapers and pads,” said Ronda Christensen, food security and retail services program director at SWCAP. “These items are rarely donated to our food pantries but are greatly needed. Diapers, pull-ups and pads are the most needed products."

If not for donations, Young said campus programs would not exist. 

“We value every donation we receive, large or small, and appreciate the significant support Kimberly-Clark has given,” she said. “Students, families and the communities they are from deserve equitable opportunities to thrive. Stretching dollars is a common stressor, especially during a pandemic. With this donation, the university continues its mission of empowering students to be ‘knowledgeable citizens in a diverse global community.’” 

Soja added, “The UW-Platteville Children’s Center is very thankful for organizations such as Kimberly-Clark for making a wonderful difference in the lives of so many families that may truly be struggling in a difficult time.”

If companies or individuals would like to coordinate a donation, they can email pioneerprovisions@uwplatt.edu. For monetary donations visit, www.uwplatt.edu/give and select “other” and specify Pioneer Provisions or The Red Basket Project.