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NGO “Distributes Dignity” to Women in Need by Providing Female Essentials

NGO “Distributes Dignity” to Women in Need by Providing Female Essentials

If you are a woman and your life has gone into a bad place, the last thing on the minds of people who may help you is your specific female needs. Because it is not a comfortable topic for many and can be a culture taboo topic for others, the need for personal care products and items such as bras for women who are homeless or in crisis are not likely to come up as part of basic plans to give help. That is where Distributing Dignity steps in to fill a huge ‘nameless’ need for women.

Distributing Dignity gives feminine hygiene products and new bras to organizations which support women in need. Partners with Distributing Dignity include Robin’s Nest Inc., Center for Family Services, Libertae, Caring Hearts Ministry, Women Against Abuse, Camden County Women’s Center, Cathedral Kitchen, The Retreat Domestic Violence Services, SCO Family Services and more. These partners help women and their children with family-oriented services and places women can go for food and lodging if they need it. Some offer addiction services, counselling, help to leave an abusive situation, meals, help to find and keep jobs, crisis hotlines etc. Thanks to Distributing Dignity women can now receive the help they need which is specific to women and their bodies.

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At a shelter or when leaving an abusive situation, a woman may not have time to pack. This means, should she arrive with only the clothing on her back at some point she will need things such as feminine hygiene products and a new bra (after all they are worn daily for months) so that the other can be washed and hung to dry (which can take longer than overnight). The public donates clothing and other things to the homeless shelters and other organizations, but most donations are meant to be ‘generic’ in that they could be used for either gender or for multiple people who come and go. There are things which a woman will need that she will not otherwise have access to when she is suddenly on her own because most women who end up in shelters and those looking for jobs and recovering from addictions won’t have their own money to buy the products which they will need at certain parts of the month.

Restrictions in homeless shelters can limit the hours patrons are allowed to come and go, and at what hours men and women can use the restroom. A second problem is that many of the facilities do not want people to bring in personal items because there is no place to store them. There is the risk of theft with anyone who you try to take into a homeless shelter. You may have the hygiene gear but no access to use it during certain hours due to washroom restrictions. This isn’t something you can just change in view of the other ‘neighbours’ at the shelter, of course.

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Started in 2009 as a family project, Distributing Dignity grew over the years and after the passing of the founder’s mother in 2012 became an official organization to help women. It was started by Joanie Balderstone and her partner, Rebecca McIntire. Some of their first donations were gently used women’s business suits—which are also a necessity for women who do not  have their own clothing and need to look presentable for job interviews. In their own words:

“In 2009, we were providing assistance to a homeless day center in Camden, NJ by donating gently used business clothes for job interviews.  A woman at the day center thanked our group for the clothes and then told us she didn’t have a decent bra to wear underneath them.   She wasn’t the only one.  So we asked what else they needed.   The answer?  Pads and tampons.  As women, we couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like to have an inadequate bra or none at all.  Moreover, we couldn’t comprehend rationing out monthly supplies or worse…going without them.   Compelled by this newly discovered need, we organized our first “Mardi Bra” party that was held on February 13, 2010.  We invited all the women we knew and each guest brought a new bra or a package of pads/tampons.  Many women brought bags full of donations.  It was a party with a purpose.”

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Reaction to the efforts has been extremely positive. A case worker for the Camden County Women’s Center was quoted in Huffington Post as saying that having a selection of shapes and sizes of feminine hygeine helped give the women a little boost—just the power to be able to choose for themselves.

If you would like to help, there are drop off locations available for Distributing Dignity if you are in New Jersey. Be a “cotton sponsor” for just $25 or pick your own amount to donate. Host your own Mardi-Bra party.  You can also shop their wishlist on Amazon or go to the shopping area of the Distributing Dignity website. Locally, you can find many women’s charities in the phone book, just pick one that has meaning for you and then give them a call to find out if they accept donations of gently used business clothing, bras, and unopened feminine hygiene products. You don’t have to be a super hero to save the world—just do something good in your own part of it.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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