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. People also assume that all public schools supply sanitary napkins to girls who need them. This could not be further from the truth: women can’t use SNAP benefits to purchase sanitary products or bras for themselves or their daughter, and despite their best efforts, most shelters and public schools in Massachusetts cannot cope with the demand for these products. 

In most states, there are thousands of women who do not have an extra $10 each month to spend on sanitary supplies. As a result, these women and school-aged girls are forced to resort to unsanitary alternatives (or skipping schools/work altogether). A similar dilemma faces women in relation to purchasing bras and underwear.

Dignity Matters was founded as a public charity 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 works with diverse nonprofit and government agencies and organizations across Massachusetts (including public schools, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, food pantries, and more) to help ensure that all women and girls get basic underwear and NO woman lives without dignity during her period.