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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 February 11, 2021

The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

Instagram allows you to see exactly what inspires people and how creativity is drawn from their everyday life. We use Instagram to capture what makes us smile, what brings joy to our life, and what we are passionate about, and the accounts listed below are sure to inspire you in turn.

Here are our 20 top creative Instagram accounts that you should be following today.

1. Humans Of New York

Brandon Stanton walks the streets of New York City taking street photography, and he gets his subjects to open up about life details that even many family members may not know about them. It makes you smile and connect with the images at a new level.

 2.  Paris in Four Months

Carin Olsson moved to Paris and is documenting every part of her experience, from the macaroons to the Eiffel Tower with all of its shimmering lights. If you want to go to Paris but can’t get there today, Carin will take you.

3. Civilized Caveman Cooking

George Bryant offers up more than his love for cooking Paleo cuisine as he shares more about life, joy, and happiness. His coined hashtag is #hugsandbacon.

4. Andrew Knapp

Andrew has taken the world by storm with his adorable version of Where’s Waldo? His version is Find Momo, and stars his border collie.

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5. Idafrosk

Ida Skivenes has developed a knack for food art. From the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Strawberry Fields Forever, she has recreated it all with food.

6. GrandmaBetty33

Grandma Betty is fighting cancer and is inspiring others to smile and be happy in life. She brings a smile to your face instantly and is like having your grandma right beside you.

7. Maya_on_the_Move

Tania Ahsan captures the world of her cute bulldog, Maya, on her adventures in New York. Maya makes appearances that will make you smile, laugh, and inspire you to go out and create something special.

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8. Leoleoparis

Leo captures the life on the streets of Paris. Most of his work is done in black and white, offering that iconic Parisian look.

9. Jacob Santiago

Jacob Santiago creates stunning, vibrant images around New York City, showcasing the architecture and streets. I’m sure you haven’t seen the streets of NYC like this before.

10. Julie’s Kitchen

Julie Lee showcases how everyday produce can create colorful art designs. At first glance, you think it is just a design; then, a second take illustrates that it is really fruits and vegetables.

11. iloveplaymo

iloveplaymo brings together photography and Playmobil toys in action. The images are up to date with current world events and everyday life.

12. “Red” Hong Yi

Red Hong Yi loves to paint without a paintbrush. Her style uses daily items to create lovely images.

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13. Alexis Diaz

A breathtaking artist from Puerto Rico who loves to paint murals. Alexis’s work is featured all over the world.

14. Murad Osmann

Murad Osmann is a music video producer, but his claim to fame on Instagram has been his photographs with his girlfriend leading him by her hand.

15. Simone Bramate

Simone Bramate is a storyteller who just so happens to take delightful photos as well.

16. Willie Kessel

Willie Kessel brings beach life right to your smartphone. Amazing surf and lifestyle images that take your mind off of all of the work and stress in your life.

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17. Nick Ulivieri

Nick Ulivieri is a talented photographer who loves to capture the windy city of Chicago and skies, especially during storms. His images are gorgeous and make you realize how wonderful life really is.

18. Jo Jerry

Jo Jerry’s landscape photos around Santorini, Greece, make you want to book a flight immediately. The bright colors and simplicity in the images make his photos stand out from the rest.

19. GoPro

GoPro uses fan-sourced images on their account that are all captured with a GoPro. Creativity to the max is used in these images and range from the grocery store to incredible surf.

20. Vin Farrell

Vin Farrell is a creative who works on the agency side for large clients and has a knack for photography. His iPhone captures amazing aerial images around NYC and the world.

Featured photo credit: Andy via flickr.com

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