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

People commonly associate period poverty with developing countries, but it is a significant, hidden and local issue here in America, and, in Massachusetts.

There are women in almost every community in the nation, who cannot afford these necessities, and period protection items are not covered by SNAP benefits.

Clients 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. We also serve monthly thousands of immigrants, refugees and members of LGBT community. People we work with desperately need help to stand back on their feet.

People we serve, every month face the humiliating reality of no access to period protection. Their dilemma of having to choose between buying food to survive or menstrual care is too common. 

Why homeless and disadvantaged women and girls desperately need our support with period protection and underwear?

  1. SNAP benefits do not cover them
  2. Menstrual products are expensive and needed monthly – the cost adds up
  3. Menstrual products are rarely donated to shelters, food pantries or public schools
  4. Many shelters, food pantries and public schools can’t afford or do not provide period protection for their clients. Bras are considered a luxury.

OUR IMPACT:

In 2021 alone, Dignity Matters distributed almost 2,000,000 items to local women and girls in need. We serve over 10,000 women each month providing them with all the menstrual care the need as well as bras and underwear. Our support helps women manage their period with dignity, feel clean, healthy and comfortable. 

 Dignity Matters supports women by providing free menstrual care products, underwear and bras to over 160 Massachusetts nonprofits.  

Unfortunately, as the rate of the homelessness is growing in Massachusetts, so does the demand for our services. Every month, Dignity Matters expends geographically and adds new partners to our distribution network.

Dignity Matters partners with:

  1. food pantries
  2. public schools, state universities and colleges, and after-schools programs for children in need
  3. homeless shelters, domestic violence centers, scattered sites, transitional housing units etc
  4. medical centers for the homeless
  5. clients directly at community organizations through our bra fitting service

 

Our community partners include national organizations such as Salvation Army, large regional agencies/organizations, such as Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program, Boston Public Schools, South Middlesex Opportunity Council and Middlesex Human Services Agency as well as large and small local programs which are vital for the wellbeing of our local communities. Dignity Matters also distributes products at events supporting homeless women and girls, such as the City Year events and Wellness Fair (organized by SMOC in Framingham). 

Periodically, Dignity Matters organizes personalized “bra-events'”  in Boston, Cambridge and Metro-West. During the events women are 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 gives them choice and provides them with a dignified experience.

UNIQUE SUPPORT MODEL: 

Besides our scale of program, what sets us apart is our operational model. Dignity Matters does not conduct street outreach or opportunistic distribution to partners.

Instead, we donate product in a pre-agreed, pre-scheduled way, based on the exact needs of our partners’ clients. Our roster is set up a year in advance. We vet our partners, tract our support and impact and we truly get to know the exact needs of people we serve.

To keep scaling up our operation, Dignity Matters contracts with multiple manufacturers and suppliers of menstrual products and underwear. This allow us to procure and distribute products to local partners for a fraction of the cost at any local retailers. We purchase product in bulk, in very large quantities and serve community partners who without us would not be able to provide their clients with menstrual care and underwear they need .

We pride ourselves on developing long-term and meaningful relationships with our partners and wprioritize helping organizations with the greatest need, and most local to us.

Dignity Matters is based in Framingham, MA, and oversees operations in Massachusetts.