When Giving, Don't Forget the Basic Essentials

Having grown up in poverty, and still struggling with it, I know all the area food banks.  I know that if I go up to GCAARD, I can get a huge box of free food every month.  I know that there is a church on Dort Highway that gives away tons of food every Thursday.  I get food stamps, and am learning to use coupons to extend my buying power.  I know that there is a church downtown that offers lunch and access to their food bank every Tuesday.

Clothes are also not that big of an issue.  There are several churches that have clothing banks that I can get free clothes for myself and my son.

What does become and issue for me, and for many, many others in need, are the basic household essentials.  Toilet paper, laundry soap, shampoo, tooth paste, cleaning supplies.

When you're already short on your house payment, and don't know where you'll come up with the money to pay the heat and electric, when your water is about to be turned off, you don't have the money to buy these things.

Food stamps don't cover them, and the few food pantries that do offer them as additions to the food pickup run out very, very quickly.

My best Christmas present each year is the very, very large basket of household supplies that my step-mother gives me.  She gives us 24 toothbrushes, enough for my son and I to have a fresh one every month.  24 packages of toothpaste.  2 dozen boxes of soap.  A huge refill bottle of hand soap.  12 bottles of laundry detergent.  A dozen bottles of shampoo.  And a dozen large packages of toilet paper.

Those gifts mean that I don't have to worry about taking any of the money for my house payment or my utility bills to by those things that are necessary for personal hygiene.