Menstrual products now sales tax-free in Texas, Catholic Charities working to provide them for struggling families

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Menstrual products, diapers and maternity clothes are now sales tax-free in Texas. Senate Bill 379 went into effect this month, repealing what’s become known as the ‘Tampon Tax.’

The bill adds feminine hygiene products and things like breast pumps and baby bottles to the list of items exempt from the state sales tax.

Cynthia Quintanilla, the executive director for Catholic Charities of Lubbock, says with the state of the economy, it’s become harder for people to afford these necessities.

That’s why once a month, Catholic Charities opens a hygiene closet, providing five free items for anyone who needs them.

“The need has definitely grown, especially with the economy the way that it is. We have probably more than 500 families that we’ve been able to assist during the time that we’ve had this open,” Quintanilla said.

It’s been open for about a year and a half now. Last month, Quintanilla says it served 188 families.

“They’re always grateful that we’re able to help out, because these are things that they can’t get on any other type of benefit,” she said.

While many people take these items for granted, for several families, services like this and sales tax relief can help them stretch their dollars even further.

“Every little bit helps, and you know, when you’re living on a fixed income, I mean those few cents could definitely help make the difference,” she said.

Terri Rodriguez, the kinship navigation director at Catholic Charities, says the price change could help several of the families she works with.

“We noticed that there was a lot of need for kinship families, especially since kids were coming into their homes out of, just overnight or all of a sudden, so they needed hygiene items,” Rodriguez said.

She says more affordable hygiene products can impact everything from job interviews, to preventing bullying in schools.

The hygiene closet is open the last Thursday of every month from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is located at the Catholic Charities office at 102 Avenue J.