Now in its fifth year, donations collected at Kansas City Public Library locations help fill bags of hygiene products that will be passed out during the rest of the year.
When the North-East branch library at 6000 Wilson Road reopened after the New Year’s Day holiday, donation boxes were in place for this year’s hygiene products drive. Now through Thursday, January 11, the library’s AmeriCorps VISTAs are collecting items, from shampoo and soap to disposable razors and bandages, to create 240 kits.
The library’s VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program expands their services by providing additional technical assistance to patrons as well as community outreach, which includes the hygiene products drive.
The project corresponds with this year’s MLK Day of Service on January 15 to “realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of equality and opportunity for all”. The library’s VISTAs will use the Day of Service to sort the donations and repackage them into zip seal bags that will be given out to library patrons in need.
Becca Rendall, Program Manager for the library’s AmeriCorps VISTAs stated the kits would incorporate items to be gender-neutral but also keep in mind that different types of hair need a different comb or brush and different skin types might need different cleaning products.
“We’d like to have 300 to 400 of each product requested on hand, so we can replenish supplies throughout the year. We also accept monetary donations that will help us purchase items not commonly donated, such as deodorant,” Rendall said.
For donations such as shampoo and body wash, smaller travel size bottles are preferred as they’ll be easier to package in the kits and less cumbersome for those who may have to carry all their possessions with them.
“As for bandages, Q-tips, baby wipes, we’ll repackage those into smaller bags as we complete the kits, we just don’t have the means to rebottle liquids and such,” Rendall stated.
While all the branch libraries will have the hygiene kits available, some branches will receive more than others due to community needs.
“Central, Westport, and North-East, those are branches that serve more of the homeless populations. We have our Community Resource Team members that come in to assist and help meet their needs,“ Rendall said, adding that she resides in the Indian Mound neighborhood, just blocks away from the library.
Response to the hygiene product drive in past years has been good, she commented, adding,
”A good amount of people do care about those in our community. We’ve had a good response from the Northeast community. They trust the library to get these items where they’re needed.”
Drop boxes are located by the front desk. Accepted items are: shampoo, body wash, soap,toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, washcloths, combs and hairbrushes, nail clippers, bandages, razors, lip balm, hand sanitizer, sample size laundry detergent, lotion, baby wipes, and Q-tips. Donations may be made online at http://kclibrary.org/support/give. Please include that your donation is for the hygiene kit drive.
For more information about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, visit http://americorps.gov