Late-night delivery service crafts safe sex


Melina Giannelia, left, and Julie Matheson of the University of King’s College are offering a late-night condom delivery service to their fellow students. (Photo: Lizzy Hill)

University of King's College students Julie Matheson and Melina Giannelia have stocked up on condoms in bulk, in case their fellow students might need one in a pinch. 

The two run a late-night condom delivery service with a twist – they’ll deliver condoms and crafts by bike to students living on the King’s and Dalhousie campuses and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Matheson, who hails from P.E.I., started the service, Artfully Prepared, because she noticed there weren’t any stores near campus where students could get condoms after midnight.   She teamed up with her friend of three years, Giannelia, who expanded the service to include delivery of locally-made crafts.  The crafts are intended to bring needed “light and humour” to the promotion of safe sex on campus, explains the Toronto native.   

King’s student Charlotte D’Arcy makes some of the crafts Artfully Prepared delivers.  Her colourful wallet-sized felt “condom cozies” are decorated with a cartoon condom, and embroidered with words such as “I’ll protect you.”  Each holds a small stash of condoms.

Similarly, D’Arcy’s “pill pockets” and “tampon totes” serve as less than discreet envelopes for birth control pills and tampons.  The pill pockets are decorated with cartoon uteruses and words such as “inhospitable,” while the tampon totes are stitched with slang for the menstrual cycle, such as “the flow.” 

Matheson hopes having condoms readily available will prevent further outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections on campus, such as a syphilis outbreak in 2003.  

She’s right to express concern. Incidences of sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and chlamydia, have increased steadily in Canada since the 1990s, states a 2007 study by the Canadian Federation of Sexual Health.  People under 24 are disproportionately affected by these trends.

King's campus safety coordinator, Katie Toth, sees condom use as essential, but is no longer providing students with easy access to free condoms late at night. Toth stopped filling the free condom boxes on campus because she was concerned students would tamper with the condoms.  No cases of tampering have been confirmed, though.  

The boxes were also expensive to keep filled.  Students were taking too many,  possibly using them as balloons rather than as intended, she explains. Toth wants to install coin-operated condom dispensers on campus, but says there are still a few things she needs to work out, such as how much each condom will cost. 

Until then, she recommends students in need of condoms late at night call Artfully Prepared. The service runs seven days a week from 11 p.m. to  4 a.m.   Students could also ask their dons for condoms, but many feel this is awkward.

Toth calls Artfully Prepared a “great resource” for students.  This may be true, but only if
students have disposable income.  Delivery of three condoms and a craft costs $10 - $15, depending on the craft. 

Business has been slow, Matheson and Giannelia admit, but they are confident it will pick up once word gets out.    After all, Artfully Prepared has the late-night condom niche all to itself.

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