By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
The Davenport Police Department and Humility Homes and Services, Inc. (HHSI) are conducting a “travel size” hygiene drive from now until June 4. The items collected will benefit individuals and families at Humility Homes and Services Shelter in Davenport.
Donors may drop off travel-size toiletries at the box located in the vestibule of the Davenport Police Department on 416 N. Harrison St. The vestibule is open 24/7.
Travel-size toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and deodorant, are available free of charge at the shelter. “The shelter places travel-size toiletries close to the bathroom so the participants can take the hygiene items needed without having to request, therefore encouraging autonomy,” said Michelle Plasschaert, shelter manager.
Since COVID-19 hit, these items have been in short supply. Hotel toiletries are usually a popular donation item, but with fewer people traveling during the pandemic, HHSI has not received as many toiletry donations.
Meanwhile, local need for shelter has increased. During the first year of the pandemic, HHSI served an average of 109 individuals per night — a 46% increase over the year prior. “The pandemic adversely impacted those who were already at risk of becoming homeless,” said Cloey Quinteiro, HHSI’s director of development. “As the unemployment rates rose drastically, people struggling with their mental health were even further pushed to the edge. Additionally, accessing resources became harder as many organizations retreated to some degree to respond to the public health crisis.”
Quinteiro said good personal hygiene is important for individuals experiencing homelessness; it can help them avoid health risks and complications and increase self-confidence. “Everybody has a right to cleanliness despite their housing situation. Something as simple as a shower can restore dignity and empower individuals to successfully engage with the community.” She noted that travel-size items are easy to carry around and dispose after use, making them preferable to full-size items. “They don’t need to be shared and the participants don’t have to worry about (finding) a place to store them.”
Among the most needed items for the hygiene drive are shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. Other items needed include razors, shaving cream, after-shave, ethnic hair products, wipes, mouthwash and toothbrushes, Quinteiro said.
Christie Adamson, HHSI’s assistant director, said the organization is grateful to collaborate with the Davenport Police Department in providing “a safe place to drop off the donations.” Sergeant Andrew Harris, Community Impact Team supervisor for the City of Davenport, said the department is “honored to partner with Humility of Mary with the hygiene item drive and to raise awareness of the struggles the homeless face every day in our community.”
To learn more about supporting Humility of Mary Housing, Inc., visit www.humilityhomes.org/donate or call (563) 326-1330 Ext. 114.