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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Distributing Dignity drive canceled due to a campus-wide shutdown


Student organizers of the annual Distributing Dignity drive, which collects bras, pads, tampons and underwear for women in need, have canceled the drive this year because of the campus-wide shutdown.

Lauren Preski ’20, co-president of the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), which runs the drive, said it is unfortunate that the drive had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Preski brought the drive to WLI in 2017.

“I am extremely disheartened to see the drive canceled for the year,” Preski said. “Although it is for reasons out of our control, I still feel as though the need for this kind of work is greater than ever.”

WLI generally holds the donation event throughout the entire month of March. In 2019, six bras, 10 pairs of underwear, 723 pads and 1,060 tampons were collected.

Amanda Fanning ’22, WLI treasurer, said the group will work even harder on next year’s drive.

“It’s really sad that we won’t be able to do the fundraiser that means so much to the WLI this semester, but that just means next year we will be putting double the energy into the drive and hopefully be collecting as many items as possible,” Fanning said. 

Joanie Balderstone started Distributing Dignity, a nonprofit based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to help women feel more professional in the workplace when they don’t have access to hygiene products. The nonprofit partners with other organizations that serve women aging out of foster care, displaced by disasters, experiencing homelessness, fighting illness or who are survivors of domestic violence, Balderstone explained. 

WLI started working with Distributing Dignity in 2017 when WLI was looking to host more philanthropic events, Preski said. 

Fanning said the group liked the idea behind Distributing Dignity. 

“Donating [products] allows women to feel comfortable and able to look professional to go out for jobs,” Fanning said. 

Balderstone said what WLI has done over the past three years has been “phenomenal” and she appreciates the message the drive is spreading that women in need are worth the help.

“When we have young women like this on a college campus making this effort and doing this collection, it definitely is making a difference in the lives of other people by providing them with the supplies that they need,” Balderstone said.  

Balderstone said because of stay-at-home orders, she and her team are not currently collecting and distributing donations. This year’s donations were slated for primarily middle and high school students in Philadelphia. Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, Balderstone said she will begin shipping donations to organizations again.

“Our priority now is that everyone stays safe and stays home so that we as a community can move through this difficult time,” Balderstone said.


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