After my last dental appointment, my hygienist gave me a free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. A recent stay at a hotel and they wanted us to take the little soap and shampoo in the room. A friend gave me a decorative soap that has been sitting in its original wrapper in a drawer for months. Sound familiar?
What if your kids collected all of the miscilaneous hygiene items in your home and the homes of family and friends and created hygiene kits? Many organizations who work with the poor, refugees, homeless or minister to the very poor in other countries can get fairly easy access to donated food and clothing. What is often more difficult for them to collect are hygiene items, cleaning supplies and baby supplies. Your kids can put together some hygiene kits and donate them to ministries and organizations who can share them with those who need them most.
Each kit can be items placed in a plastic bag. They can have fun using decorative ones, but make sure they are transparent to help the shelters and recipients. Each bag doesn’t have to have the exact same items. Have your kids make fliers or send emails and texts asking people to gather up all of their free samples and items they are saving for some day, but haven’t used (and probably won’t). great items are toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner – really any personal hygiene item except razors (some shelters may have rules against them). Deodorant is not usually given away, but some friends and family may be willing to purchase and donate them too.
Encourage your kids to share their faith while serving. Have them create scripture cards decorated with a scripture and a drawing (no identifying personal information for safety purposes) and include them in the kits. If possible, take your kids with you to deliver the hygiene kits. If the organization has the time, have them explain about the people they help and even let your kids meet some of them and hear their stories. The personal connection will make the service project more memorable and meaningful for your kids.
So the next time you want to help your kids serve others, send them on a hygiene scavenger hunt. They may just find much more than some soap and a free toothbrush.