Giving the Basics is the hygiene resource hub for those in need

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Giving the Basics volunteers loading up items for delivery. // Photo courtesy of Giving the Basics.

In 2011, Teresa Hamilton was contacted by a close friend who was newly divorced with six children and struggling to make ends meet. They were requesting food donations from the local pantry, but basic necessities like shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, diapers, and toilet paper were not available. The family was embarrassed to ask for these items from additional sources, so they sadly went without. Teresa and a group of friends decided to take initiative, and pooled together the necessary resources to help out her friend’s family until they were able to get back on their feet. Over the course of a year, Teresa’s eyes were opened to an under-acknowledged and underfunded need throughout the Kansas City community. This was certainly not the only family without access to basic human essentials to survive. And with that, Giving the Basics began. 

Giving the Basics is a hygiene resource hub for Kansas City. Personal care and hygiene items are scarce at shelters and food pantries and are not covered by government assistance. Giving the Basics exclusively supply hygiene products and cleaning supplies to more than 250,000 people monthly, and it also partners with more than 140 non-profit organizations and 350 schools to distribute personal care items throughout the metro. The services and products allow children to attend school and focus on friendships and learning, instead of their hygiene.  

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Volunteers packing up donations. // Photo courtesy of Giving the Basics

A student recently reached out to Giving the Basics expressing how she constantly felt self-conscious: Her peers were making fun of her behind her back due to her lack of hygiene. She grew increasingly isolated and no longer looked forward to going to school. After receiving hygiene products from Giving the Basics at her school, she began to gain more confidence and started making more friends. Her grades have also seen an improvement now that her focus is no longer on her personal hygiene and comfort.

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Donation Bins you can find around town. Visit the website for more information or to request a bin at your office. // Photo courtesy of Giving the Basics

During the pandemic, Giving the Basics has continued to distribute products despite a 68 percent increase in requests. Due to the increased requests, the organization is participating in a large community drive on May 1st, focused on bringing support to more than 500 families in a collaboration with Police Athletic League and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Families at this event can receive hygiene products, clothing, and other essential household items during this increased time of need. 

There are many ways you can support Giving The Basics. Those interested in volunteering in person by sorting and packaging items can visit their website at givingthebasics.org and search under the “Get Involved” tab. A list of drop-off sites is also available on the website along with a list of products that are in high demand. You can also rally your friends and co-workers together and host a “Dignity Drive” of your own. With your help, Giving the Basics can provide the necessities of life not covered by government assistance programs that most people take for granted. Your support makes it possible to eliminate humiliation, promote learning, and offer hope to those in need. 

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