When families visit the Marshall County Neighborhood Center or the Saint Joseph Health Center’s Outreach Clinic in nearby Plymouth for assistance, they may end up facing some tough choices.
Limited to the number of items they can select, parents often have to make choices between shampoo, soap, or toothpaste after they have filled their baskets with food and other essential items. As a volunteer at both locations, Culver Girls Academy senior Shannon Deery saw it happening time and again.
“They had to choose among the hygiene products they really needed,” she said. “I tried to think about what could be done because it was affecting such a broad group of people.”
So Deery (Culver) teamed up with Hannah McColly (Crown Point, Ind.) to develop personal hygiene kits for their Senior Service Practicum. Seeking donations of personal hygiene products or money to buy more goods, Deery and McColly developed a system that allowed them to create 150 kits for distribution through the two agencies.
The seniors reached out to family, friends, and classmates in collecting the money and hygiene products. They then divided the items and filled each of the reusable fabric bags over the summer. The Culver Dental Clinic served as a major provider of the dental items. Other donations allowed the girls to include Tylenol, band-aids, razors, and antiseptic ointment in many of the bags.
Even though the bag includes a variety of products, Deery said it only counts as one item when the person selects it. McColly added it took approximately 65 to 70 hours to coordinate, plan, and organize the project.