When we walk by a fellow citizen who asks for spare change or hold signs asking for help, we often ask ourselves how can we effectively help them beyond giving some change always comes up? But no one really takes the time to ask them what do they need the most?
I decided it was time to ask that question and guess what the answer was? It was not money, it was hygienic items.
It is something so simple and basic, yet so necessary and easy to give.
This led to the idea of creating hygiene kits aka 'dignity kits' in an organized fashion. Any Masjid, nonprofit, or group of people can easily put it together and have an impact on their community.
Who can put the kits together?
- Youth Groups
- Summer Camp attendees (make it into an activity)
- Groups of Friends
- Volunteer Groups
What can you include in the kit?
A reusable quart plastic bag containing:
- Breath Freshener (such as breath strips or mints)
- Comb or Small Brush
- Q-tip or cotton swabs
- Body wash (unscented is preferred)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Multiple pocket size Kleenex packages
- Bandages or first aid items
- Individually packaged food items
- A note with a list to nearby resources with complete contact information (i.e. local shelters)
- Phone cards to be used to call above mentioned resources or contacts
- Bus or meal vouchers (can coordinate with local shelters on this item)
- Gift certificates to nearby restaurants
Please note that these are only effective and beneficial to people if the packaging for the items are reusable
- Reusable Water Bottle containing
- Nail clippers
- Sewing Kit
- Tape (Medical and/or Duct)
- Small Absorbent Towel
- Phone Card
- Camp or Cooking Supplies
How to collect the items?
The kits are basic and are cost effective, but on a mass level it can add up. Here are some tips to collect enough supplies to make the kits.
- Ask community members to donate the items; you can advertisee at your local Masjid or somewhere central to have a barrel for people to drop off items
- Ask nearby businesses to provide in-kind donations
- Look for sales and buy for sale prices
- Buy from wholesale markets to buy in bulk at better rates
How do you distribute the kits?
- Through shelters or organized events like Humanitarian Day
- Hand to individuals to keep in their car/purse so they can hand to those in need when they pass by them. Community members should take 5 or 10 kits to start, with request that they fill out name, email & phone. You can then send follow up survey after to collect experiences and tell them about additional opportunities. Should be encouraged to have conversations with those giving too, staple instruction sheet to grocery bag with kits in it.