Dignity Matters is a non-profit organization that collects and supplies feminine hygiene products and underwear to women and girls who are homeless or otherwise in need, in order to help them stay healthy, regain self-confidence, and live with basic dignity. 

It is hard to imagine, but the lack of access to pads, tampons and underwear is a HUGE issue for tens of thousands of women in USA. There are women in almost every community in the USA, who cannot afford these necessities, and unlike many other necessities, pads and tampons are not covered by Food Stamps (SNAP Benefits) and not provided by most homeless shelters or public schools.

Women and girls we assist are commonly single mothers, low-income or homeless women or women and teens who escaped domestic violence and cannot safely return home. Well over 40% of homeless women we encountered in shelters are employed. Indeed, just in 2017 we visited many homeless shelters in Massachusetts where over 65% of the women are employed, but still can not afford a permanent roof over their head. These women desperately need help to stand back on their feet.

Homeless women and school girls, both sheltered and unsheltered, every month face the humiliating reality of no access to tampons or pads. Their dilemma of having to choose between buying food to survive or pads is too common. 

Why homeless women and school girls DESPERATELY need tampons, pads, bras and panties:

  1. Food stamps do not cover them
  2. They are expensive and needed every month
  3. They are almost never donated to shelters or public schools
  4. Shelters and public schools in impoverished areas have no funds to purchase pads/tampons for distribution. Bras are considered a luxury.

In 2017, in Massachusetts alone we collected over 265,000 bras, pairs of panties and feminine hygiene products which we donate to over 50 homeless shelters, some of the poorest public schools, after-school programs for kids living in poverty and domestic violence programs. In 2018 Dignity Matters started a new program called “Dignity in the Community” through which we support local food pantries.

Sample of our partners which we assist:

  • Waltham and Boston medical clinics for homeless families managed by Boston Healthcare for Homeless Program
  • Woman’s Lunch Place, Boston (drop-in-center for homeless women)
  • Shadows and Meadows, Ashland  (shelters)
  • Family Promise, Natick (program for homeless families)
  • Sage House, Framingham (shelter)
  • Family Promise, Natick (program for homeless families)
  • Drop in Center for Homeless, Framingham (drop-in-center for homeless)
  • On the Rise, Cambridge (drop-in-center for homeless women)
  • Women Connecting Affecting Change, Dorchester (drop-in-center for homeless women)
  • RIA House, Framingham (program for sexually trafficked girls)
  • Serenity, Hopkinton, (shelter)
  • All 11 of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Boston (after-school programs for kids & teens)
  • William Monroe Trotter School, Dorchester
  • James W Hennigan School, Jamaica Plain
  • Orchard Gardens School, Roxbury
  • Parthum Middle School, Lawrence (located in Lawrence MA – the state’s poorest city)
  • Lowell High School, Lowell (one of the country’s largest high schools by enrollment)
  • Jeremiah Burke High School, Dorchester, MA 
  • John W. McCormack Middle School, Dorchester, MA 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. School, Dorchester, MA
  • Dearborn STEM Academy, Dorchester, MA
  • Greater Lowell Technical High Schoo,Tyngsboro, MA
  • Newton Food Pantry
  • A Place to Turn (food pantry in Natick serving 12 towns) 

Dignity Matters also distributes products at events benefiting homeless women/girls, such as the City Year events and Wellness Fair (organized by SMOC in Framingham). 

We pride ourselves on developing long-term and meaningful relationships with the shelters we serve. We spend a significant amount of time at each shelter we partner with to truly understand the unique needs of the population they serve, in order to prioritize helping those with the greatest need, and ensuring that no products is wasted.

Unlike other nonprofits we don’t randomly distribute bras/underwear at shelters, but rather organize “bra-events'” at homeless shelters. During the events women are professionally fitted with bras and/or can choose and try bras they feel are the best fit for them. This way of working directly with women truly provides them with a dignified experience which they love.

Dignity Matters is based in Framingham, MA, and oversees operations in Massachusetts. You can also tangibly improve the lives of women and teens in need  by joining our cause.