The Dutch government is pushing more money into fighting poverty, including 2 million euros specifically to make free menstruation products available to more women. With this money, the Poverty Fund can expand its distribution points for free tampons and pads from 1,500 to 2,500, Minister Carola Schouten for Poverty Policy, Participation, and Pensions announced in a letter to parliament.
The government is also awarding 15.8 million euros in subsidies to Stichting Voedselvangnet, the foundation that purchases and supplies food to food banks, over the next four years for the purchase of food, clothing, school supplies, and personal care products. The money will also fund activities and campaigns aimed at combating poverty, specifically among children.
“Groceries have become considerably more expensive in the past year. That applies to food, of course, but also to clothing, school supplies, and sanitary products,” Schouten said. These extra subsidies should help the aid organizations help the increasing number of people turning to them for support.
“In addition, we also allocate money to tackle underlying problems – such as debt or loneliness – and thereby give people more opportunities,” Schouten said. “And we specifically make money available to help women and girls who cannot afford essential menstrual products.”
The government is also making extra resources available to the Red Cross for food aid and material aid to people who are not eligible for support from the food banks or who don’t know where to find the help they need.
The subsidy to Voedselvangnet comes from the European Social Fund (ESF+). The extra money for the Poverty Fund and Red Cross comes from the national budget at the request of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.