This Hygiene Bank Gives Dignity To Those In Need

When a person's basic needs are covered they can focus on bigger goals

Dec 12, 2016
This Hygiene Bank Gives Dignity To Those In Need | When a person's basic needs are covered they can focus on bigger goals

There are few things better than that fresh feeling after taking a nice shower at the end of a long day, brushing your teeth, and then slipping into clean clothes. While having the ability to stay clean and hygienic is simply a part of everyday life for most people, for many people living on the street, it is a daily struggle. Apart from the obvious unpleasantness, not having the option of properly maintaining ones hygiene can lead to a whole host of health problems.

That is where Simply the Basics comes in. The San Francisco-based nonprofit has made it its mission to improve the overall health of the city's homeless and extremely low-income residents, by supplying them with hygiene kits including basic items such as clean socks, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, wet wipes, first aid, and antiseptic. The kits, which are distributed at various social services sites across the city, are tailored to meet the specific need of the location at which they are given away. Participating shelters can even make special requests such as adding female hygiene products for kits going to women's shelters or leaving out mouthwash because there is alcohol in it.

Meghan Freebeck, the organization's founder, said she modeled Simply The Basics' system after that of food banks, creating what she calls the nation's first "full scale Hygiene Bank." Shelters, especially larger and better known ones, often receive large donations of items they can't actually use or store. When Freebeck first started the organization in 2015, she got in contact with hundreds of shelters all over Northern California to find out exactly what they need. This knowledge allos her organization to redistribute donations so that they reach the places where they are needed the most.

In the short time since it was founded, Simply The Basics' tireless efforts have improved the overall health of its clients by 85% and cut the time shelter staff need to spend managing donations in half. And the organization has come a long way: what began with a simple feminine hygiene product drive, earlier this month succeed to distribute its 100,000th product, helping yet another unfortunate person to regain a sense of dignity.

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