Andrea Schneider is the Community Outreach Director for Wellesley Mothers Forum. She was contacted by Kate Sanetra-Butler, the founder and CEO of Dignity Matters (www.dignity-matters.org) to see if there was an opportunity for the two organizations to partner with one another. As Sanetra-Butler described the mission of Dignity Matters, and the desperate need that homeless and critically poor women experience each month, Schneider said, “I knew that I wanted the Wellesley Mothers Forum to do something to help.” The Wellesley Mothers Forum Community Outreach team has planned on organizing 10 donation drives in the 2016/ 2017 season and they partner with a variety of local organizations.
“Dignity Matters inspired us to act,” Schneider said.
“I did not know that homeless shelters typically cannot cope with the demand for feminine hygiene products or underwear for women,” she continued. “I didn't know that food stamps cannot be used to purchase feminine sanitary items. I didn't know that this was an embarrassing and unsanitary issue that many homeless women struggle with every month. I also did not know that this is an issue that is within our power to solve.
“What I did know was that we wanted to be a part of the solution. Additionally, Dignity Matters was recently launched and its founder is a mother of young children living in Wayland, MA. Therefore, by partnering with Dignity Matters, the Wellesley Mothers Forum is not only supporting an amazing cause to help women in need, but we are also supporting a local woman launching a non-profit organization. Every part of it feels good!”
When asked, what Schneider and her colleagues found most important about running this drive, she said, “Dignity Matters is filling one of those cracks in the system that hardly anybody realizes exists: homeless women desperately need bras and feminine hygiene products. Dignity Matters recognized a monthly crisis that happens for homeless women in almost every community. These women do not have access to the necessities that keep them healthy and hygienic and able to live with dignity every month. People rarely donate feminine hygiene products or underwear to shelters, and often women do not have the extra money each month to purchase these items, and that leaves them in a desperate situation. We can, and should, help these women live a clean and dignified life that they deserve”.
Dignitiy Matters assists women in need in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and immediately is in need of the following:
1. Female hygiene products (tampons and sanitary napkins). Opened tampon or pad boxes are also welcome as long as individual products are sealed. There is a preference for super absorbency strength. 2. Female underpants - new and with tags. Any brand, size or color. 3. Bras - both new and gently used. All sizes and styles are needed, including underwire bras, sports bras, nursing bras, maternity bras, shape-wear, crop top style etc. Nursing bras are very sought after.
Community members are asked to bring their donations to the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St, through January 25. For more information, email Andrea Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To learn more about Dignity Matters, please visit www.dignity-matters.org.