Red Mailboxes are popping up outside of churches from coast to coast but what's inside of it could be life saving.

Outside of Christ Church in The Pas, Manitoba stands a tall red mailbox. Inside of it are period products. The church's leader says this is much needed, as many women cannot afford to buy it for themselves.

"It can mean the difference between eating and not eating, or in most cases, feeding their children," Reverend Jann Brooks says. "By having this stuff available, if they do not have very much money, they are able to afford food and are able to look after their needs."

Brooks said this is "no laughing matter" despite being a topic not often discusses, especially at church. She cites a 2020 independent study that found roughly 17 per cent of Canadian women cannot afford period products, most of which use less safe alternatives.

"They have to make do with socks, or moss, or rags. Some even use newspaper and develop horrible infections."

Brooks was a nurse before she became Rector at her Anglican church. During her time there, she saw the results of what happens when women are unable to afford period products. Since then it has been on her mind, but it was not until this summer when she realized she could do something about period poverty. 

One day while leaving her church home, Brooks noticed an old wood mailbox, getting an idea. She wanted to paint it red and put pads and tampons inside for women who cannot afford them. When the carpenter came, they hit a snag.

"He goes 'eh, this isn't going to work. The wood is rotten."

The Pas uses community mailboxes, so there was nowhere to buy a mailbox. Instead of giving up, Brooks drove an hour and a half to Flin Flon to get one. Once it was installed outside of her church and filled, Brooks saw it was quickly a success.

the pas red mailbox(Supplied)

"They just open it up, and they take a package or two of whatever they need. There is a brown paper bag, they just put it in and off they go. We restock it every day."

Each week they go through roughly five to six packages of pads and tampons.

From British Columbia to Newfoundland, Red Mailboxes are popping up across the nation.

"We are part of the community. We are all one big community and this is missional work at its core. This is saying 'I am looking out for my neighbour. I am going to do something that really helps them."

ontario red mailboxSt. Luke's Anglican Church in Burlington, Ontario, has a large plasic box. (Supplied)