Ridgewood teen receives citizenship award for combating period poverty

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Photo by Dean Moses


Altruistic teenager Jamie Longo traveled from her Ridgewood neighborhood to the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway to donate women’s menstrual products on Monday, Sept. 28.

The pandemic has not only made it more difficult for low-income communities to afford food but also other necessities, such as feminine hygiene products. As the Far Rockaway area experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases, 15-year-old Longo aimed to ease the burden by delivering essentials to the doorsteps of those in need. 

Partnering with the Period Movement to donate 6,000 pads, 4,000 tampons, 2,000 pantyliners and 100 mini menstrual kits, Longo arrived flanked by her mother and younger brother, touting bags of sealed donations. The majority of these products were purchased by the young activist with aid from her mother, Connie Altamirano, while additional items were provided to aid in their efforts.

“I did some research. I saw that pantries weren’t supplying these products, so I dug a little deeper and realized how much this was needed. There is an epidemic in period poverty, because so many people have to choose between food and period products. That is really sad. Since I found that out, I started this so they don’t have to choose,” said Longo.

After supplying boxes filled with menstrual products to the Redfern Houses Volunteer Resource Network, Longo took the time to stay and hand out the donations to passing residents, allowing them to pick from the vast stock. This community giveback is the latest in series of contributions Longo and her 11-year-old brother, Jacob, have been providing to Queens residents, dating back to May when they helped restock the Hungry Monk food pantry. In an attempt to continue supplying impoverished New Yorkers, the young Ridgewood native has set up a GoFundMe page, garnering funds so she can restock all the previous donation sites.  

State Senator Joseph Addabbo also made a special appearance, surprising the teen with a bouquet of flowers and a community service award, commending her for “outstanding community service.”

“Whenever you get a chance to work with role models like Jamie and Jacob, it is a highlight. People are in need due to COVID-19 and we are having people feel those needs here. Jamie and Jacob are paving the way to help others,” Addabbo said. 

Photo by Dean Moses

The event culminated with the siblings announcing that they will be uniting to give away both food and women’s hygiene products on Oct. 24 at the Hungry Monk, located at 6851 60th Ln., Ridgewood.

Their noble work has not gone unnoticed by community leaders. Maggie Larkins, the founder of the Resident Elder Youth Engagement Corporation, was so impressed by Jamie and Jacob that she decided to pay it forward. 

“We have an intergenerational program here where the youth and the seniors work together. On behalf of the Resident Elder Youth Engagement Corporation we would like to donate $100 to your efforts,” said Larkins.

If you would like to learn more about Jamie Longo’s efforts, please visit her GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fy99d-donate-feminine-hygiene-products-to-shelters