Often, it’s the simplest things which help people the most. Years of working with people in countries with unclean tap water, homeless people in the U.S. and even foster children as they move from home to home, have taught me personal care items are an urgent need in many places.
It shocked me to learn the number of diseases and deaths which could be prevented in many countries if the people had easy access to soap. Children moved into foster care often arrive with little more than the clothes on their back to homes who may have only realized they were coming a few hours before. The homeless in this country are often afraid to go to shelters where they could make use of bathing facilities and do the best they can in public restrooms.
The solution is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it and is perfectly suited to be a service project for young children to teens. Buy clear bags from a craft store or use large zipper bags. (Clear will make sure the people you are serving don’t have to worry about customs or others opening the bags.) Fill them with personal care items.Bagging the items so each bag serves one person makes it so much easier for the people you are serving to hand them out to those who need them.
The items can be as simple as soap and a wash cloth. If you have the ability to add other items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and lotion are all desired. Think about adding bug spray for areas with mosquito borne illnesses or sunscreen for sunny areas. Check with the organization you are helping. Some may have special requests of things they do or do not want in the bags.
Have creative kids? Consider having them knit the wash cloths – a very simple project and more durable than store bought cloths. You may have teens who want to make the soap – experimenting with add-ins which have more scrubbing power or are more gentle to the skin. Have your artists design cards with a scripture and perhaps the name and address of the church near the people being served. Open it up to the kids for ideas. They may have some you would never have considered.
So grab some personal care items, some clear bags and some kids and see how many people you can serve. It’s easier than you think.