Do you have a drawer stuffed with unopened personal care items? Your clutter — the mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash from hotels; tiny soaps from your travels; samples of dental floss and travel-size toothpaste from your dentist visits'; more extra toothbrushes than you could use in any reasonable amount of time — can help people in need. Instead of hanging onto these items "just in case," find a place near you where you can donate them to people who need them right now. Your bathroom shelves will be lighter, and your community will be stronger.
Need For Personal Care Items
Many people need a helping hand to get back on their feet. But government assistance doesn't cover necessities such as laundry soap, deodorant, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, and more. Hygiene helps us all feel confident to succeed. And for kids from low-income families or job seekers trying to secure employment, not having access to personal care products makes hygiene hard — when it doesn't need to be.
Oral hygiene products in particular can help support the overall health of people without access to personal care products. Especially for people who may not get to the dentist very often, donated oral health products can make a big difference. For example, regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque from hardening into tartar deposits that requires a dental visit to remove.
Where You Can Give
Donate your clean, unopened, unexpired personal care items and make a difference in lives in your own community. But first, you need to find someplace to donate them. Read on for five ideas to get you started.
1. The Ronald McDonald House
If there is a Ronald McDonald House chapter near you, check with them to see if you can drop off travel-size toiletries. It's one less thing for families to worry about when they're far from home.
2. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army accepts unopened toiletry items at many of their locations, so check with your local group to see if you can make a drop off.
3. Operation: Care and Comfort
A group called Operation: Care and Comfort supports the U.S. military by sending basic hygiene and toiletry items to deployed soldiers. You can mail items to their main donation center or drop them off if you live near any of the drop-off areas.
4. Local Homeless Shelters
Local shelters often need donations, as well as support from community members like you. You can find homeless shelters near you by consulting the national Homeless Shelter Directory.
5. More Local Groups
Here are more tips for the types of local organizations that may welcome personal care donations in your area: Food pantries, women's shelters, religious centers, veteran health centers, disaster relief groups.
Need more ideas? Check out Forbes magazine's list of ten places to donate personal care items.