In March, volunteers and staff came together to pack close to 500 Dignity Grows tote bags at two packing parties attended by a total of 27 volunteers.
The parties, held on March 7 and 27 at the Greater New Haven Jewish Community Center, were organized by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. The Federation is proud to be a part of the national movement of Dignity Grows, a program that supplies essential menstrual and hygiene supplies to those in need.
"I am proud to be a part of the Women's Philanthropy Dignity Grows program,” says Enid Groves who participated in the March packing party. “It is empowering and fulfilling knowing we are assisting so many women in the Greater New Haven area in need of hygiene supplies. Women's Philanthropy will continue to strive to address this issue."
Period poverty — the issue Groves refers to — is a growing concern. Fortunately, in the State of Connecticut that our legislators and state representatives are aware of the growing needs. State Representative Kate Farrar (D – West Hartford) lauds the inclusion of $2 million in state budget to address access to menstrual products in Connecticut public school restrooms, on college campuses, and in shelters.
This bill allows boards of education to use donations, grants, or partnerships with community organizations to facilitate the placement of free menstrual products in school bathrooms. Launched in 2019 in Greater Hartford, Dignity Grows has since morphed into a national initiative in dozens of communities — and its growing every day. There are now 36 Dignity Grows chapters all across North America, which have collectively distributed over 22,000 Dignity Grows totes to our neighbors in need, including over 10,000 which have already been distributed across Connecticut.
Locally, a group of committed volunteers, as part of Women’s Philanthropy, are engaging others to join “packing parties” to organize, assemble, and distribute free, reusable zipper-top totes filled with a month's supply of soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, along with menstrual products. The totes are distributed through several partner agencies including Jewish Family Services, Gateway Community College, and the Connecticut Food Bank.
The cost of a tote is only $10 per bag. Through the generosity of grants from the Women of Vision of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, B Foundation, Aunt Flow, and many generous donors, we have been able to distribute more than 4,600 bags throughout our community