Materials for Activity
- Poster paper
- Crayons or markers
- Tape or sticky tack
- A large cardboard box or other container
- Donated, unused hygiene items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and deodorant
Preparation for Activity
- Depending on your congregation polity, you may need to clear this activity with congregational staff or leaders.
- Ask participants and their families to collect personal hygiene items for donation. Set a deadline for donations and provide a container to collect donations at your congregation. Advertise in congregational media.
- Identify a homeless shelter or other non-profit agency that will accept hygiene donations.
- Set poster-making materials on work tables.
Description of Activity
When a person is unable to take care of their basic hygiene needs, it can be very difficult to feel welcome and accepted wherever you go. Imagine going to a new congregation or a job interview if you had no way to bathe for a week. Providing hygiene items restores dignity to recipients and allows them to care for themselves.
Explain to participants that some people receive government assistance to purchase food because they do not have enough money of their own. Explain that these people are not allowed to purchase basic hygiene items with their food stamps. For instance, diapers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap have to be purchased with their own money or need to come from donations. Ask participants to make posters asking for hygiene items and post them in the congregation with your chosen deadline for donations. Posters can show pictures of items needed such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, and toilet paper.
After the deadline, participants sort and count the donated items and bag them for transportation. Tell participants about the agency they will donate to.
Be sure to print a thank you in an order of service or a monthly newsletter thanking everyone for their donations and indicating how much was collected. A leader or a group of people should deliver the items to the chosen charity.
Including All Participants
Participants need not go out and purchase items. Remind them that sample sizes from hotels can be donated. Participants may also solicit friends and neighbors to contribute items. Consider brainstorming about places that might donate items, such as a dentist's office, rather than asking families who are themselves unable to purchase items.