Who We Are
Barbara Morgan, Founder and President
In 2016, Barbara Morgan discovered through a family member in crisis that personal care, soap, and other non-food items cannot be purchased with food stamps. She learned that low-income and homeless women could often find shelter and food but had no place to turn when it came to feminine hygiene products. In an attempt to preserve their dignity and sense of self-worth, girls often skip school and women who work in low-paying hourly jobs forfeit income when they miss work because they lack access to menstrual products.
Barbara gathered several friends and founded Project Dignity of Western North Carolina. The challenges were daunting. They needed to find financial support, locations where donors could drop off products, a place to store them, and an efficient way to distribute the products to numerous charitable organizations in addition to all the middle and high schools in Henderson and Buncombe counties.
From its inception, Barb guided Project Dignity as it became an important contributor to the well-being of local girls and women. Although she suffers from a life-threatening medical condition, Barb modestly thanks others for making her life more meaningful and says “Project Dignity is a means for us to honor the dignity of the women and girls we serve.”
Tabitha Long, Vice-President
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Tabitha relocated to WNC in 2015 to flee the winter weather of the north. In the fall of 2017, Tabitha attended a presentation given by Barb Morgan at a Junior League of Asheville meeting and immediately reached out to Project Dignity to find a way to help. Tabitha was unaware of the need for feminine hygiene products by women in WNC and has been spearheading our grant team in search for funding to further our cause.
Judy Derr, Secretary
Judy moved to Asheville in 1994 and began a 24-year career as a paralegal for a prominent law practice in the area. Judy was asked to join the Project Dignity Board from its inception and has been committed to its mission. Judy hadn’t realized the problems low-income women and girls face trying to obtain feminine hygiene products. She found out that many women miss work and girls miss school during for lack of products during “that time of the month.” She wanted to help in any way she could. It’s been a gratifying and awakening experience.
Nancy Pellegrini, Treasurer
Originally from northern Wisconsin, Nancy moved to North Carolina in 1980 where she committed to spending “the rest of my days as a loyal Tar Heel” fan. As a young woman Nancy earned her private pilot’s license and spent several years as an air traffic controller. Her business career eventually turned to becoming a paralegal, but it also included creating and running a successful corporate travel program for a large Charlotte firm. Now in retirement, Nancy has devoted her time to birding, and to volunteering with several non-profits, including Project Dignity.
Debbie O’Malley, Board Member
Eight years ago Deb traded in her “Mouse Ears” and moved from Orlando to Hendersonville, having retired as Director of Religious Education in the Orlando Diocese. Active in her new parish, Deb was looking for something to make a difference in our community. Deb was invited to join the Board of Project Dignity and was immediately instrumental in developing the processes needed to meet the demands of providing feminine hygiene products to the women and girls in our area. Deb works to successfully sustain the logistics of our program, including inventory management, product delivery, and telling the Project Dignity story to everyone she meets.
Emily Peele, Board Member
Emily is a volunteer reader at Mountain Area Radio Reading Service for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, a tutor at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, and a warehouse volunteer and community Ambassador for MANNA FoodBank
Doug Rostick, Board Member
Project Dignity of WNC Inc. 501(c)(3), a nonprofit whose mission is to provide feminine hygiene products to women and girls in Hendersonville and surrounding areas who might be homeless, low-income, or victims of domestic abuse.
Why we do what we do:
Millions of women in the United States who are living in poverty find it tough to pull together funds to pay bills and buy groceries. Since menstrual products are not covered by food assistance programs, there isn’t always enough left over for a $7 box of tampons or pads. Women resort to using rags, socks, or even plastic bags. Beyond a critical health problem, it’s upsetting – and even shocking – that every woman in America doesn’t have access to these products.