Choosing to pay a bill or purchase toothpaste or shampoo is a difficult decision for those living in poverty. Not maintaining basic hygiene can lead to health and dental issues, but many individuals who are homeless or near-homeless have no choice but spend their limited means on food, transportation, or other urgent needs.
Helping bridge the gap for community members forgoing the necessities of soap, toothbrushes, deodorant, razors, and more, Waypoint’s May Baskets for the Homeless donation drive helps provide these items to thousands of people each year.
“Sometimes when people are strapped financially, having a hygiene kit will free up money so they can put gas in their car or put money towards a bill,” Office Coordinator Jackie King said.
Last fiscal year, food and toiletries were given to 4,171 individuals in need. These items are distributed on a monthly basis at no charge through Waypoint’s Daytime Resource Program. Individuals are provided with a hygiene kit designed to last the entire month, consisting of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, bath soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a razor. Other supplemental items such as tampons, lotion, and African American hair products are included, as needed. Diaper kits with diapers and wipes and also available.
The Daytime Resource Program subsists entirely on in-kind donations, and at the average hygiene kit distribution rate of over 400 per month, items go quickly.
Food and other items including gas cards and bus tickets are also in demand. These items are especially useful for women and children staying at the Madge Phillips Center Shelter and domestic violence victims.
Office Coordinator Jackie recounts one of the many times these items helped a woman fleeing her abuser.
“[Waypoint] was arranging transportation for her, but she was going to have to wait a while as the pieces were falling into place. We had some food to offer her since she had not eaten. She was pretty exhausted and needed some sleep. We got one of the donated blankets for her to make her more comfortable. It’s kind of like we were giving her a hug after all she had been through,” Jackie said.
Community donations give Waypoint the ability to remain a critical resource for individuals experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty. Consider hosting a May Baskets for the Homeless donation drive with friends or co-workers this month. Donations are accepted year-round Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Waypoint.
For more information, please contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 365-1458, ext. 6139.