Four area agencies are the recipients of the more than 6,000 personal hygiene items that were donated last month during Help for the Homeless.
“It went very well,” said Robin Madson, executive director of Foundations for Living. “I think next year it’s just going to grow.”
The drive to collect the items was held from March 3-30.
Boxes were located throughout the community – at businesses, schools, churches and municipal buildings.
Last Wednesday, April 2, the items were separated by category.
The next day, representatives from CAP Services, Foundations for Living, Ruby’s Pantry and the Waupaca Area Food Pantry counted all the items in each category and then divided them. That took place at Ruby’s Pantry.
Those four agencies will now use the items to support programs for those in crisis situations.
“These items will be put in our Care and Share Closet,” said Madson. “Our clients and volunteers earn Care Bucks to shop in that, but it will also be available for those who are in need.”
Heather Kangas, a domestic abuse victim advocate at CAP Services, said the agency will have the personal hygiene items available to anyone in its transitional living units and in its homelessness prevention program.
The Waupaca Area Food Pantry’s clients will also benefit from the collection.
“We get a few of these things in donations but never near this amount. It will be a real boost,” said Kathy Jenner, the food pantry’s volunteer operations manager.
She said the food pantry was happy to be part of Help for the Homeless, because its clients cannot use Food Stamps to purchase personal hygiene items.
“We will have a nice variety for the clients when they visit the pantry,” Jenner said.
According to Madson, a total of 6,338 items were donated, including 1,854 dental products, 1,049 travel size products, 816 bars of soap, 452 rolls of toilet paper, 267 liquid hand soaps and sanitizers and 204 hair care items.
She will be reporting the value of the donations to the radio station that facilitated the hygiene item drive.
The Family, which has radio stations in the Fox Cities and central Wisconsin, has encouraged this type of collection in other communities for more than 20 years, Madson said.
Last year, Foundations for Living was the recipient of funds from this family of radio stations to buy products, which is how she learned about the annual Help for the Homeless.
Last October, the four local agencies began meeting as a group to plan for the local collection.
Madson said they heard many comments about how easy it was to donate items for the drive.
Waupaca Foundry donated money and purchased products, she said.
“There was a lot of product that came in from St. Mary Magdalene. We emptied it (the box) out twice. Shepherd of the Lakes we emptied once,” Madson said. “We had some cash boxes in area businesses, which brought in about $200.”