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 hundreds of immigrants and refugees, transgender and LGBT people. 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 pads is too common. 

Why homeless and disadvantaged women and school-aged 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 struggle to afford period protection for their clients. Bras are considered a luxury.

OUR IMPACT:

In 2017, Dignity Matters collected over 225,000 items for distribution. In 2018 we over doubled our operation and collected over 570,000 items. 

Since the begining of 2019, Dignity Matters supports over 100 other nonprofits reliably reaching over 3000 women and girls EVERY MONTH.

Unfortunately, as the rate of the homelessness is growing in Massachusetts, so does the demand for our services. Every month, Dignity Matters adds new partners to our distribution network but the waiting list is getting longer. We can’t meet the demand.

Dignity Matters assists our partners though 5 different programs which serve:

  1. food pantries
  2. public schools and after schools programs
  3. homeless shelters (including domestic violence programs, scattered sites, etc)
  4. medical centers for the homeless
  5. clients directly at parent institutions through our bra fitting service

 

Our clients include large organizations and agencies in Massachusetts, such as Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program, Boston Public Schools, South Middlesex Opportunity Council and Middlesex Human Services Agency as well as small local programs. Dignity Matters also occasionally distributes products at events benefiting homeless women/girls, such as the City Year events and Wellness Fair (organized by SMOC in Framingham). 

Periodically, we also organize 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: 

What sets us apart is that Dignity Matters does not conduct street outreach or opportunitstic distribution to partners.

Dignity Matters donated in a pre-agreed, pre-scheduled way, based on the exact needs of our partners’ clients. We vet our partners, tract our support and impact of our work and most importantly we get to know the exact needs of people we serve at different institutions.

To scale up our operation and sustain it in the future, Dignity Matters contracted two years ago with a manufacturer and supplier of menstrual products. This allow us to purchase and distribute period protection to local partners for a fraction of the cost at any local retailers. We purchase product in bulk and rapidly grow as an organization serving public needs that were otherwise not met.

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.