Distro Disco is an amazing grassroots mutual aid initiative in the form of a mobile free store. After collecting donations, material resources are redistributed to Vancouver's unhoused community, including everything from batteries to tents, toiletries to clothing, to emergency response kits. One of their biggest needs is always disposable period care products. While big-box stores offer cheaper products, Distro Disco encourages their donor community to purchase locally and from small businesses. Keep reading to learn more about the inspiring work Distro Disco does to support their communities.
What is Distro Disco’s mission and how did you get started?
Our mission is to be a flexible mobile link between essential material resources and the unhoused community in Vancouver. We started in response to the housing crisis, overdose epidemic, and COVID-19 pandemic through organizing volunteers and sourcing essential survival items to multiple tent cities in Vancouver. Through this work, we decided to turn an old camper van into a free store so that we could be mobile while serving the unhoused community.
What do you do to bring your mission to life?
We commit to making mutual aid a priority in our lives by pooling our resources, connecting with like-minded folks and making it happen!
Why is it important to include period products in your mobile free store?
We have redistributed thousands of pads and tampons over the past two years. As a majority of people with periods in our volunteer pool we know all to well the importance of having quality menstrual products on hand. We always make sure that we are fully stocked for menstrual products in our free store inventory.
What does period equity mean to you?
Period equity to us means that everyone (including trans folks) who needs access to period products has it. That these products are safe to use and don't pose as a financial barrier.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to Canada reaching period equity?
Can you share a story about how The Distro Disco’s has positively impacted an individual with periods?
Last week at our distribution day I had a woman come up to me and share that she had three daughters and the four of them were synched up and she was unable to buy tampons. We were able to supply her with five boxes of tampons!
How important to The Distro Disco are partnerships with companies like joni?
It's vastly important to us to partner with companies like joni because we want to support local sustainable and inclusive businesses over big box stores. A lot of the items we carry are cheaper for us (and our donors) to buy from places like Walmart or Dollarama. We want to avoid supporting those big businesses as best we can and in turn offer better quality products.
What can people do in their own communities to fight for period equity?
Start a period pantry like our neighbour @vanperiodpantry!
Call to Action
If you would like to donate to Distro Disco, please check out this Material Donation Guide for high-demand items along with where and when to drop off donations. Distro Disco aims to support small businesses in and around Vancouver, particularly those owned and operated by BIPOC and/or queer/trans folks, and ask that if you know anyone who makes anything in their inventory request to please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org