Dignity Matters began after Kate Sanetra-Butler, formerly a corporate executive and now a mother of two residing in Wayland, Massachusetts, was asked by a young homeless woman in Copley Square, Boston for a spare tampon. The unexpected encounter in June 2016 turned out to be transformational.
Further inquiry into the reality of life for homeless women, which uncovered a desperate need: women at homeless shelters very often have to go without feminine sanitary products and underwear.
Most people wrongly assume that if a woman receives SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) or uses homeless shelter services, then such basic items are provided. This could not be further from the truth: women can’t use SNAP benefits to purchase sanitary products or bras, and despite their best efforts, most shelters cannot cope with the demand for these products.
In Massachusetts, and neighboring Rhode Island, there are thousands of women who do not have an extra $10 each month to spend on sanitary supplies. As a result, these women are forced to resort to unsanitary alternatives. A similar dilemma faces women in relation to purchasing bras and underwear.
Dignity Matters was founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of these issues, and most importantly, taking action today to provide women in need with bras, underpants, tampons and pads.
Dignity Matters will work with diverse non-profit and government agencies across Massachusetts and Rhode Island (including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, food pantries, and more) to help ensure that all women can get underwear and NO woman lives without dignity during her period.