Local charity provides homeless women with the necessities

Tami Bobrin’s Dignity Project provides women with the items that food pantries and shelters may not offer

Tami Bobrin moved to New Jersey less than two years ago and is already striving to make a huge difference in her community. In addition to being involved with her childrens’ school district and a being a Relay for Life team captain, Bobrin has created her own charity called the Dignity Project.

Bobrin, who lives in Cinnaminson, came up with the idea for the Dignity Project in 2014 when she was still living in Pennsylvania. She read an article discussing the issues homeless women face when trying to access things such as personal hygiene products and undergarments, and it really hit home. Bobrin says it was something she hadn’t thought about previously, but she felt inclined to help.

While Bobrin used to strictly collect feminine hygiene products, she now collects everything from soap to sports bras and makes both female and unisex packages to be distributed to the homeless.

New or gently used sports bras are a new item added to the list of suggested donation items, and Bobrin says it’s one of the most important.

“Women who are homeless don’t have bras. It seems so basic, but we can’t get access to them,” Bobrin said. “They don’t show up in the Goodwill bag. They just go without.”

In addition to bras, soap and feminine hygiene products, Bobrin is also collecting toiletries, personal care items, socks, shampoo, conditioner and dental hygiene items. She says hotel and travel size items are perfect for the packages.

Bobrin says feminine hygiene product is another item many homeless women are forced to go without.

“A lot of churches have food pantries, but feminine hygiene products — they don’t have them,” Bobrin said. “If your choice is a gallon of milk or a box of tampons, you’re going to get the milk.”

In addition to donation items, Bobrin is also collecting cash donations she will use to go shopping for needed items for the packages.

“We have received some very nice cash donations that allow us to go out and purchase items that will fill in where donations have not been strong,” Bobrin said.

Bobrin’s goal is to make 200 bags this year. She is collecting at both her home and her sister’s home in Cinnaminson but is collecting from surrounding towns as well, including Palmyra.

“We’re going to spread as far as we can to help as many people as we can,” Bobrin said.

Bobrin is collecting all items by mid-January. On Jan. 15, Temple Sinai in Cinnaminson will be holding a Mitzvah day where they will assemble care packages for distribution to homeless shelters and food pantries in the area. There is a donation box in place at Temple Sinai that can be accessed 24/7 as well as one at Mike’s Pizza in Delran.

“If you have one thing to donate, that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be, ‘I have a basket or I have a bag or I have a box of 100,’” Bobrin said. “If you have one, that’s going to help one person.”

Bobrin can be contacted to pick up donations at tjbobrin@yahoo.com.