CT group taking its message nationwide: Without period products, ‘you can’t function in daily life’

Hartford Courant

In the last four years, Greater Hartford-based organization Dignity Grows has focused on building a national network of more than 60 chapters to supply monthly totes filled with free hygiene products to as many people as possible. Now the group is sponsoring a national conference with an even bigger aim.

CT is struggling with a high rate of period poverty and alack of menstruation product access. Here’s how it’s fighting back.

Hartford, CT

About a quarter of women in the U.S. don’t have access to menstrual products each month,with many forced to choose between buying them and food, Jessica Zachs, founder and CEOof Dignity Grows, said in Hartford Wednesday.

Local officials recognize Hartford-based charity Dignity Grows

Hartford, CT

… More than three years later, that idea has turned into a fully fledged 501(c)3 charity called Dignity Grows, with more than 50 chapter around the country. Zachs and her team were honored Wednesday afternoon at Charter Oak Community Center by local officials, including Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, U.S. Rep. John Larson and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz….

Rep. Larson, Mayor Bronin, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Spotlight ‘Dignity Grows,’

Hartford, CT

Today, Congressman John Larson (CT-01) and Mayor Luke Bronin joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and community partners to promote ‘Dignity Grows’, a local non-profit organization combating period poverty. Dignity Grows provides tote bags filled with a full month supply of free comprehensive hygiene essentials paired with period products to help support neighbors in need. Since its founding in 2019, Dignity Grows has distributed more than 15,000 Dignity Grows Totes per year in the Greater Hartford area.

Organization Seeks to Help Fight Menstrual Poverty in Connecticut

Hartford, CT

Dignity Grows provides bags to girls and women who may not be able to afford the feminine hygiene products they need.

Dignity Grows Receives Grant from The Pad Project

Hartford, CT

Dignity Grows, Inc. is proud to announce its first grant recipients, awarded in partnership with The Pad Project. The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (Oregon) and Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix (Arizona)…

Help Us Grow Dignity Grows 

by Nina Lukin for The Jewish Journal of Buffalo

Imagine having to choose between buying food for your family or buying toilet paper or running out of soap and having no money to purchase more. This is a reality for 1 in 5 women in the US who struggle with the difficult choice between paying for food, shelter and feminine hygiene items. Every month, some of our neighbors feel a sense of helplessness and embarrassment because they lack access to basic necessities whether by poverty, stigma, or lack of education…(continued on Pg.10)

Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven Women’s Philanthropy Launches NEW Community-wide Program

Shalom, New Haven 

Women’s Philanthropy is thrilled to share that we are launching a local chapter of Dignity Grows, a program founded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Women’s Philanthropy. It has now grown into a national initiative chaired by its founder, Jessica Zachs.

Dignity Grows provides monthly personal and menstrual hygiene products to women, girls and individuals assigned female at birth who cannot afford them. Dignity Grows embodies the Jewish values of tzedakah (righteousness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world)… (continued on Pg. 4)

Connecticut charity Dignity Grows spreading nationwide in mission to fight period poverty

Hartford Courant 

Jessica Zachs of West Hartford founded Dignity Grows almost two years ago to help those experiencing “period poverty” in the Hartford area. Since then, Dignity Grows has grown, to 16 chapters nationwide, with 22 more coming soon. Volunteers in these chapters distribute thousands of free hygiene tote bags to adults and teens whose budgets are stretched too thin to make room for sanitary pads.

The need has heightened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw many jobs lost and many families’ incomes take a nosedive. When money is tight, paying for rent and food takes priority over buying menstrual products. So what are people who need those pads and panty liners supposed to do?

Hope in a Bag

 CT Jewish Ledger 

When Jessica Zachs of West Hartford watched the 2018 documentary “Period. End of Sentence” about women in India with no access to monthly menstrual supplies, she was shocked. “These women in India, literally, were still in the’ Red Tent,’” Zachs says, referring to the tent where women in biblical times were sent during menstruation and childbirth. “I started Googling and found out in very short order that in America [due to] ‘Period poverty’ – which is a recognized term – 20 percent of women can’t afford personal feminine hygiene products,” Zachs says. “My reaction was, ‘This is wrong…This just can’t be!’”  

Feeling that something had to be done, Dignity Grows, an innovative non-profit effort to provide monthly personal and menstrual hygiene products to women and girls who cannot afford them was created. 

Dignity Grows™ in Greater Hartford and Beyond

Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Greater Hartford’s geographical area may be small, but our impact is nationwide! Dignity Grows began in 2019 right here at your Federation, and it’s now a national initiative chaired by founder Jessica Zachs. Our local chapter continues to provide Dignity Packs filled with a month’s worth of basic hygiene supplies and menstrual products to local residents in need through several distribution partners. At the request of one of our distribution partners, we recently began assembling men’s Dignity Packs. One recipient burst into tears when he opened his first Dignity Pack and found razors and shaving cream inside. “Now I can shave, so I might be able to get a job!” he said. Just $10 will fill a Dignity Pack for a person in need; volunteer opportunities are also available. To learn more, contact Jennifer Schwartzman at

UJA-JCC creates ‘dignity packs’ to help those in need in Greenwich

Greenwich Time

The UJA-JCC Greenwich recently teamed up with Neighbor to Neighbor to prepare and distribute 100 “Dignity Totes” to help people in need. Each zippered bag contains menstrual products and toiletries, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste and a toothbrush. They were distributed to clients of Neighbor to Neighbor.

“Dignity Grows” in Greenwich

CT Jewish Ledger

UJA-JCC Greenwich has launched a new project that supplies toiletries to people in need, making it easier for them to attend school and get work. Volunteers for “Dignity Grows,” which originated at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, collect and dis-seminate essential items which are not covered by federal grant programs and rarely available at food pantries. In Greenwich, Dignity Grows is headed up by Margie Black…

Dignity Grows™ launches Dignity Totes for people in need

Hartford Courant

On June 29, a small group of volunteers gathered in socially distanced fashion in a West Hartford parking lot to fill 500 tote bags with menstrual supplies and basic hygiene products, continuing the commitment of Dignity Grows™, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, to address period poverty throughout the community.

Men, women receive Dignity Packs funded by Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

West Hartford News

Dignity Grows Founder and Chair Jessica Zachs led the dedicated team of volunteers, which included several mother/teen daughter pairs as well as representatives of COMPASS Youth Collaborative, a Dignity Grows distribution partner that provides the discreet “Dignity Packs” to at-risk students in Hartford.