If you are anything like us, you are always looking for creative ways to help others. In this article, we would like to focus primarily on helping displaced persons through the gifting of a simple hygiene kit.
When a person is without a place to shower or take care of even their most basic needs, the simple luxury of having the means to clean themselves up can mean the world. When you give somebody the ability to groom themselves, you are giving them the opportunity to put their best foot forward, fall asleep feeling clean, and maybe even secure employment for a brighter future.
Places that are often in need of hygiene kits include homeless shelters and shelters for the abused. Depending on where you live, there might also be refugee centers, veterans service centers, or other social service organizations that could benefit from your generosity.
What Is a Hygiene Kit
A hygiene pack is a kit made up of various personal grooming items commonly overlooked during times of hardship. Depending on the person being served, these packs can differ. There are certain items, though, that are universal.
These packs are accumulated and then dispersed to the homeless or otherwise displaced during times of tragedy.
What to Include in a Hygiene Kit
If you are thinking about organizing a hygiene pack drive in your community, the first step is to figure out what you will need to purchase or ask for in donations. There are various hygiene and health items that are inexpensive, but invaluable when placed in the right person's hands. Below, we will discuss some of the most important hygiene items to include in your kits.
It's a sad reality that many homeless don't always have access to a bathroom. They often will go wherever they can find privacy, including in wooded areas, under overpass bridges, or elsewhere. While the world is full of private places to sneak away to do your business, it is not full of materials with which to clean up. A roll of toilet paper packed away in a duffle bag can be a wonderful blessing.
Similarly, there is not always an opportunity to wash hands. Having hand sanitizer can help kill germs after using the bathroom, before eating, or at any time in between. Affected persons likely can't afford to go to the doctor if they get sick, so prevention is key. Especially during flu season, when the rest of us can wash our hands freely, displaced people need a way to wash up.
When you cannot shower daily, controlling perspiration and body odor becomes a serious consideration. A good antiperspirant deodorant can go a long way in improving self-esteem for your kit recipients. It can also help them be more accepted socially, which is an important factor when trying to secure housing or employment.
One word of caution when purchasing antiperspirants or deodorant, though, is to reach for the unscented variety. While the impulse may be to load up on the fragrances, many people are allergic to scented hygiene products. You don't want to risk gifting a product that cannot be used.
Sanitary Napkins or Tampons
Homeless women have an added concern in that they need to be able to handle their monthly cycle. Feminine hygiene products like tampons or sanitary napkins will allow them to protect their clothing and also save them embarrassment.
It is important to remember that sanitary products can be expensive, especially for those who are already struggling. If possible, pack plenty so that there are several cycles' worth available within the kit.
Matted and tangled hair is an ideal environment for lice and other parasites. These can make an individual sick and uncomfortable. Furthermore, matting and tangles can contribute to a disheveled look that can be offputting in society.
Packing a comb for the hygiene kit recipient gives them a simple tool for personal care that will not only help them feel and look better but potentially save them from harmful health risks, too.
Soap & Shampoo
It has often been said that where there is a will there's a way. Even when a shower is not readily available, a person can bathe in a river or a public bathroom sink if needed. They just need to be able to get clean, and most of the time, water alone doesn't get the job done. Packing gentle, unscented soap and baby shampoo will help.
Why baby shampoo? If a shower is not available, a person might attempt to wash their hair in a sink, using a container of water, or by another means. In these instances, it is easy to get soap in the eyes.
Wet Ones or Baby Wipes
Wet Ones and baby wipes are both great tools for washing the face, hands, feet, or genital areas when a bath is not possible. Being able to freshen up can help a person feel, smell, and look better. With so many obstacles standing between your kit recipients and society, you want to give them the confidence they need to move ahead and forge a better future.
We all get hurt now and again. Being able to clean a cut and properly bandage a wound can minimize the risk of future infections. When left untreated, even the smallest injury can cause a septic infection which can be lethal in certain circumstances. Providing the tools for early cleaning and intervention can save a life.
Antiseptic cream can mean life or death for a person that otherwise would not be able to properly care for or dress their wounds. Adding a tube of antiseptic cream to their hygiene kit means they can treat small skin abrasions and infections easily, often preventing these infections from becoming a bigger issue later down the road. This is an inexpensive item that will make a big difference in the kit recipient's life.
Dental care is expensive and going without it is painful. Prevention is better than a cure for your teeth. A small tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush included in your hygiene kits will help prevent the painful effects of tooth decay or oral infections.
A shower and a shave can change a person's entire outlook. Adding a few disposable razors and a small container of shaving cream to your kit can help the people you are choosing to bless get a fresh outlook on not only their face but their life.
Preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy is important during times of trouble, but everyone has a right to express their affection toward others. Give them a means of protection.
A mirror is necessary for self-care. When a person cannot see themselves, they often lose track of the need to be presentable, which can outcast them further from society. By gifting them a mirror, you are allowing them to have better control over their situation.
Remember that clean clothes (including socks and shoes) are not always readily available. An overgrown toenail can lead to an infection that can quickly become a lingering and serious problem. Preventing infection is an important step in preserving health.
Nail clippers are necessary not only for keeping clean nail beds and preventing ingrown nails, though. We can also use them for a variety of other purposes. We can use them to extract splinters, open tough packages, or more.
Life on the street is difficult, and one of the primary concerns of those who are homeless is that they aren't able to get quality rest. A set of earplugs can help them drown out the noise of the city when they need to take a moment to catch up on sleep. They can also help keep the cold air out of their ears on particularly chilly nights, warding off the risk of inner ear infection or cold.
They will need something to carry all of their new belongings in. A simple bag with a zipper and strap should suffice. Just make sure it is not overstuffed, as this could lead to a seam failure or other loss of contents.
Once the hygiene items are acquired, then comes the packing. Organize a group of volunteers to pack the kits in an assembly-line style to ensure no kit is missing any of the products. This can even turn into a fun community event or an evening with friends.
Once these items have been packed, they are ready to be delivered to those who need them. Now, you just need to figure out where to go.
Conclusion: Where to Deliver Your Hygiene Kits
If nothing else, take to the streets or keep a few kits on hand in your car. Chances are you will eventually run across someone that will be happy for the gift.
When you are finished, give yourself a pat on the back. You have done something wonderful with your time and energy, and the gesture will not be forgotten by those who benefitted.