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Boxes of Kindness

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My family and I live among boxes of kindness. Wherever you look, boxes upon boxes are piled high; all filled with donations from good, ordinary people. In the hallway as you enter our house, cartons of sanitary pads rest against the grandfather clock; cotton buds and nit combs have their own spot on the sofa; boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste sit on the unused end of the dining table. The kitchen door is propped open with a multipack of nappies and the house is flooded with the smell of shampoo and body wash.

And this is not just happening in my

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house but in the homes of all our volunteer project coordinators around the country.

Every day, collection boxes UK wide are filed with donations from school children who have spent their pocket money on shaving foam instead of using it to make slime, to older folk who have put aside a bit of their pension to help others more in need. Even more boxes of kindness arrive daily from our Amazon wishlist.

This is The Hygiene Bank.

Five months ago I set up what is now a national charity. With nothing more than social media we solicit donations of

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hygiene essentials, beauty and personal care products and give them out to people who need them via charity partners such as food banks, womens refuges, social service teams, hostels and housing associations. These are just a few of our recipient organisations.

Donations are taken to a local storage facility where volunteers, open, sort, batch and box products ready for delivery. Another network of volunteers collect up all these boxes of kindness, haul them in the back of their cars and take them off to places where they will be appreciated more than

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we might ever know.

14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. 4.1 million are children with an increase of 500,000 in the last five years. In-work poverty has risen faster than the rate of employment.* For many of these people, hygiene essentials and personal care products such as tampons, deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste have become out of reach luxuries.

What does hygiene poverty mean? It means being not being able to buy the things you need to keep you clean and presentable. And it is real. Girls miss school and women are

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housebound because they can’t afford period protection. Men and women miss out on job opportunities because they can’t afford to look presentable. Smelly kids get bullied because a can of antiperspirant or clean uniform would have meant missing a meal.

The very idea of hygiene poverty is embarrassing. We hear all the time from those working on the frontline, these three words: isolating, shaming, excluding. Our motivation is simple, to afford everyone their dignity. To do some good for people who have less in this austerity-bitten country, where

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not having enough is the new normal.

If you’d like to know more about what we do, where our projects are and how to donate please visit the website www.thehygienenbank.com . Our main hub for communicating is via social media @thehygienebank on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

* source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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- 7 Jan 19

My family and I live among boxes of kindness. Wherever you look, boxes upon boxes are piled high; all filled with donations from good, ordinary people. In the hallway as you enter our house, cartons of sanitary pads rest against the grandfather clock; cotton buds and nit combs have their own spot on the sofa; boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste sit on the unused end of the dining table. The kitchen door is propped open with a multipack of nappies and the house is flooded with the smell of shampoo and body wash.

And this is not just happening in my house but in the homes of all our volunteer project coordinators around the country.

Every day, collection boxes UK wide are filed with donations from school children who have spent their pocket money on shaving foam instead of using it to make slime, to older folk who have put aside a bit of their pension to help others more in need. Even more boxes of kindness arrive daily from our Amazon wishlist.

This is The Hygiene Bank.

Five months ago I set up what is now a national charity. With nothing more than social media we solicit donations of hygiene essentials, beauty and personal care products and give them out to people who need them via charity partners such as food banks, womens refuges, social service teams, hostels and housing associations. These are just a few of our recipient organisations.

Donations are taken to a local storage facility where volunteers, open, sort, batch and box products ready for delivery. Another network of volunteers collect up all these boxes of kindness, haul them in the back of their cars and take them off to places where they will be appreciated more than we might ever know.

14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. 4.1 million are children with an increase of 500,000 in the last five years. In-work poverty has risen faster than the rate of employment.* For many of these people, hygiene essentials and personal care products such as tampons, deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste have become out of reach luxuries.

What does hygiene poverty mean? It means being not being able to buy the things you need to keep you clean and presentable. And it is real. Girls miss school and women are housebound because they can’t afford period protection. Men and women miss out on job opportunities because they can’t afford to look presentable. Smelly kids get bullied because a can of antiperspirant or clean uniform would have meant missing a meal.

The very idea of hygiene poverty is embarrassing. We hear all the time from those working on the frontline, these three words: isolating, shaming, excluding. Our motivation is simple, to afford everyone their dignity. To do some good for people who have less in this austerity-bitten country, where not having enough is the new normal.

If you’d like to know more about what we do, where our projects are and how to donate please visit the website www.thehygienenbank.com . Our main hub for communicating is via social media @thehygienebank on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

* source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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