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Local Nonprofit Jumps In to Help During Bronx Fire Aftermath

Some of the 200 donated Dignity Grows Totes are wheeled off for distribution to families impacted by the fire. Courtesy photo

West Hartford-based nonprofits delivered personal hygiene products to those who were displaced by the recent deadly fire in the Bronx.

A member of the Bronx Community College Public Safety team was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Hartford community. Courtesy photo


Dignity Grows’ Hartford Chapter, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, delivered 200 personal and menstrual hygiene totes to help serve displaced tenants and neighbors affected by the Jan. 9, 2022 deadly fire in the Twin Parks North West building on E 181st Street in the Bronx. At least 17 people were killed, including eight children.

Community members of New York’s 15th Congressional District, led by Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY), collected food, clothing, cleaning supplies, gift cards, and diapers for resident families: however, personal hygiene necessities were not among the donated items. Nanette Alvarado, District Director, identified a solution in Dignity Grows, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing free menstrual and comprehensive hygiene supplies for those in need.

Dignity Grows Inc. Founder and CEO Jessica Zachs quickly organized volunteer fueled and funded efforts to assemble the 200 discreet hygiene totes, half including period products and half with shave cream and disposable razors in addition to the full-month supply of soap, shampoo, deodorant, handwipes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush.

Rep. Ritchie Torres reflected, “It is no accident that the four worst fires in New York City’s history in the last 30 years have all been in the Bronx. The tragedy at Twin Parks North West revealed the devastating consequences of an underfunded and aging housing stock, lack of community investments, and the neglect felt by immigrant communities. But out of this tragedy, generosity and good will have been shown by people from around our city, country and around the world through various acts of kindness and donations. The contributions from Dignity Grows are just the latest examples of the incredible support that is pouring into the Bronx and the Gambian community.”

Jennifer Tolman Schwartzman, Dignity Grows COO, delivered the Dignity Grows Totes to the Bronx Community College campus this weekend for distribution to those impacted by the fire. “It was heartening to see how the community came together to help their neighbors. There were donated goods from floor to ceiling at the college, but there were no supplies to help with daily hygiene needs,” Schwartzman remarked. “Dignity Grows helps bring the issues of hygiene and period poverty to the forefront, during everyday life and during moments of crisis.”

“I thank Dignity Grows for delivering 200 totes filled with personal hygiene materials to the victims, and the organization’s ongoing support during this difficult time,” said Rep. Torres. “Our Bronx community thanks you.”

To learn more about Dignity Grows, contact Jessica Zachs at [email protected] or Jennifer Tolman Schwartzman at [email protected]. To get involved with the Hartford Chapter, contact Heather Rubin Fiedler at [email protected]. To donate, visit bit.ly/DignityGrowsHartfordDonations.

A community member is thankful for the arrival of much-needed hygiene products. Courtesy photo

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