Laurie Girsky, chair of UJA Women, recently hosted a packing event for the UJA Dignity Project. Since its launch, the project has given Met Council more than 1,500 bags filled with menstrual hygiene products for distribution to women living in poverty.

Anyone living in poverty knows what it is to go without food, bus fare, or money for rent. For women of menstrual age, it can also mean “period poverty,” the indignity of going without a box of tampons or pads. Government benefit programs do not cover these essential items. Women who can’t afford basic menstrual hygiene products face a profound toll on their health, self-esteem, and well-being.

We can do better. That’s why this past fall UJA Women launched the UJA Dignity Project, where volunteers host packing events in their homes or offices and ask guests to donate a box of tampons, a bag of pads, and an item for selfcare like lip balm or shampoo, which they then pack into reusable bags provided by UJA.

“The UJA Dignity Project is very meaningful to me,” says Laurie Girsky, chair of UJA Women, who recently hosted a packing event. “We’re bringing women together to raise awareness about this issue and work on a project that directly benefits women in need.”

Since the launch, over 1,500 bags have been distributed to women of all backgrounds, including survivors of domestic violence, through Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a UJA partner.

Period poverty also profoundly affects teens. According to a recent survey from the Harris Poll, 1 in 5 teens struggles to afford menstrual products — which in turn can cause teens to miss classes at middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

“The need is real and as more women hear about our efforts, they want to join us,” Laurie says. “It’s about women helping women.”

If you would like to join in by hosting or attending a UJA Dignity Project event, contact Liz Fine at finel@ujafedny.org or 212.836.1454.

 

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