In 2018 we heard that many children participating in the Shop with a Cop program at Christmas were using that opportunity to get basic hygiene items instead of toys. After hearing of this we spoke to several school nurses and school counselors and found as the industry in Gillette had declined many families were unable to afford basic hygiene items.
In 2019 as a club project we decided to put together hygiene packages to deliver to the Title I schools in Campbell County and the local homeless shelter. Each package contained a washcloth, travel sized shampoo and conditioner, soap, and dental hygiene items. For the adult packages we also added a razor, lotion, and deodorant. We were able to distribute about 900 packages to both the Title I schools and the homeless shelter in 2019.
We had great success with the hygiene project in 2019 and decided to continue with the project. Once again in 2020 we packaged and distributed packages to the Title I Schools, the homeless shelter, the Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation, and the Volunteers of America. We made a few changes to the packages and distribution process last year. First, we distributed packages to the Title I Schools based on data received from the local chapter of Blessings in Backpack. Second, we gave the students larger sized hygiene items and did not add dental hygiene items as Title I schools can receive those items through another donation source.
After our club assembles the packages, they are delivered to the local organizations and the Title I schools. The Title I schools make the decision on how to distribute the hygiene packages to the students. Some schools put the packages in with the Blessings in a Backpack, while others keep the packages in the nurse's office and distribute as needed.
During the 2021-2022 year we were able to increase the amount of packages distributed approximately 1400 to Campbell County Title I Schools and 250 to community organizations. Our goal is to distribute the same number of package this year.