Donations of women’s sanitary pads and tampons have more than quadrupled at some food banks, in the wake of I, Daniel Blake.
The hard-hitting film, which was released in December 2016, shows the struggles of Daniel Blake, a man who denied employment and support allowance, despite his doctor declaring him fit to work.
It also features Katie, a struggling single mother who is caught shoplifting sanitary pads and toiletries as she is unable to afford them.
However, the short scene may have helped increase awareness of period poverty, with food banks across the country noticing an increase in donations.
‘I left with my car full to overflowing’
Video Credit: I, Daniel Blake / IFC Films
A RightsInfo investigation into the scale of period poverty – where women and girls are unable to afford sanitary products- contacted more than 70 food banks across the country to see if they distributed such items.
While it discovered thousands of women were relying on the food bank service to get through their monthly periods, more than 15 banks also reported a steep increase in donations of pads and tampons since the film was released.
After I, Daniel Blake it sky-rocketed. It’s one thing to go into a shop and buy your own tampons, but another thing to have to ask someone else.
“Awareness of this issue has greatly increased since the film,” one food bank manager told RightsInfo. “Last Christmas I was invited to the party of the local Women’s Institute and they made it a condition of attendance that each member should bring a sanitary item with them. I left with my car full to overflowing.”
One centre even recorded a 500 percent increase in donations since the film.
‘There is a great empathy out there’
Food banks also stock sanitary products. Image Credit: StaffsLive / Flickr
“After I, Daniel Blake it sky-rocketed,” added a food bank organiser from Arnold.
Staff in Durham added: “We used to be really low on toiletries but after the film we now get donations so regularly the section has its own large cupboard in the food store.”
Speaking to RightsInfo, writer of the film Paul Laverty said the whole team were “delighted” at the news.
“Often shame keeps injustice well hidden. Film and storytelling generally, when we can imagine ourselves in others’ shoes, can sometimes help. Maybe Katie from I, Daniel Blake sticks in people’s minds?
“It shows there is a great empathy out there and anger that so many women are humiliated like this because of poverty. Can you just imagine your daughter going to school and using rags or socks? It is not just hunger that shames this fifth rich country in the world.
“My respect to the activists who do the hard work in raising awareness.”