“Each young woman we serve is unique, special & distinctive. We are simply elated to have formed this partnership with you. The intrinsic value of the mitzvot Dignity Grows provides has created something of irreducible value for our members and they understand the communal spirit and friendship”
Jeffrey Dressler, Founder Charter Oak Boxing Academy
Connecticut charity Dignity Grows spreading nationwide in mission to fight period poverty
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 jschwartzman@jewishhartford.
UJA-JCC creates ‘dignity packs’ to help those in need in Greenwich
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™ launches Dignity Totes for people in need
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.