Jewish Federation of San Diego introduces Dignity Grows

From left, Rachel Herman, Social Action Committee Chair, Women’s Philanthropy Board, Bev Pamensky, Executive Director, Kindness Initiative, Carole Yellen, Senior Director, Center for Jewish Care, Jewish Family Service Lisa Motenko, Associate Executive Director, Hillel of San Diego. Photo provided by Jewish Federation of San Diego

By SDCN Editor

San Diego, CA–The Jewish Federation of San Diego is leading a new effort to address hygiene poverty through a local chapter of Dignity Grows. 

The chapter launched at an event hosted by Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Board featuring a panel discussion on Jewish poverty in San Diego and a “packing party,” where nearly 70 women of all ages gathered to assemble 400 tote bags with a month’s supply of free menstrual and comprehensive hygiene necessities for distribution to neighbors in need, all packed in a discreet, reusable shoulder bag.  

“Caring for Jews in need is a pillar of Federation’s work,” said Rachel Herman, social action committee chair of Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Board. “The organization operates both as a community convener and serves as a mobilizer to raise awareness about issues facing our community – and takes action to address them. Our Women’s Philanthropy Group and the launch of Dignity Grows in San Diego is vital to this work.”

During the panel discussion, moderated by Herman, local Jewish leaders from Federation’s Poverty Working Group addressed period poverty and the manifestations of financial hardship experienced by so many in our community. Panelists included Lisa Montenko, associate director, Hillel of San Diego; Bev Pamensky, executive director, Kindness Initiative; and Carole Yellen, senior director, Center for Jewish Care at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. The event was generously underwritten by Urban Kitchen Group.

The 400 tote bags will be distributed by partners Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Hillel, Kindness Initiative and Coastal Roots Farm as they come across individuals in need.

Federation’s Poverty Working Group was formed in 2021 to address Jewish poverty in San Diego. The group meets monthly to share what they are seeing, discuss synergies and opportunities to work together, and try new collaborative solutions to problems that cannot be addressed by any one entity alone. Participating organizations include Hebrew Free Loan, Hillel of San Diego, Impact Cubed, Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s Center for Jewish Care, and Seacrest at Home.

Dignity Grows is a national organization that provides free comprehensive hygiene essentials paired with period products and distributed in a discreet fashion for anybody who needs them. Founded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Women’s Philanthropy in 2020, Dignity Grows embodies the Jewish values of k’lal Yisrael (all Jews caring for one another) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). Jewish Federation of San Diego’s Women’s Philanthropy Group is proud to be an official chapter of this program. For more information, visit

For more information, visit

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