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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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