The unprecedented flooding in Louisiana has driven about 11,000 people to shelters ― and though residents are being kept safe, they may not have access to shower facilities and basic hygiene products.
That’s why Simply the Basics, a “hygiene bank” based out of San Francisco, is assembling kits to send to shelters and community groups that are housing and providing services to evacuees. The kits contain tampons, pads, shampoo, lotion, deodorant and other everyday basics.
The group is reaching out to local groups directly to find out what they need and how they would like to receive the items. The goal is to improve hygiene at shelters to minimize health risks and allow evacuees to still feel dignified while seeking refuge.
“We will do the leg work, so they can focus on caring for the people,” Meghan Freebeck, CEO and founder, told The Huffington Post.
Freebeck first came up with the idea to start a hygiene bank last year when she launched a donation drive for feminine hygiene products to help homeless women in San Francisco. Within 48 hours, she had collected enough money and products to help every homeless female in the city, according to the organization’s website.
“We remove the dehumanization of handouts.”
Menstruation is often one of the toughest challenges homeless women face.
Tampons and pads are expensive and rarely donated to shelters. Compounding the issue is the fact that these women often don’t have access to showers when they need them.
To date, Simply the Basics has donated 60,000 hygiene products to its partner organizations, which are mostly based in the Bay Area.
The organization plans on expanding to other U.S. cities by 2018 and will continue to respond to national disasters.
“We remove the dehumanization of handouts,” Freebeck said, “and empower our most underserved community members to have the dignity and benefits that come with good hygiene and choice.”
Learn more about Simply the Basics and how you can get involved here.