SEVCA’s “Good Buy” Thrift Stores are now offering customers the opportunity to give to local kids and families in need and get something back at the same time. From February 1 through March 31, everyone who donates personal care items to SEVCA’s “Care for Kids & Families” Collection Drive will receive 10% off any purchase at our Good Buy Stores. Diapers, baby formula, shampoo, and toothpaste are some of the items urgently needed by local homeless shelters and food shelves to distribute to families in need.
“The Good Buy Stores already provide a service to our communities by offering low-cost clothing, furniture, and household goods (and free clothing and furniture for families in crisis), but we wanted to do more,” said Darline Rhoades, SEVCA’s Thrift Stores Director. “A lot of people think about donating food, but it turns out that one of the biggest unmet needs in our area is actually for baby care and personal care products.”
Items collected will be distributed through the Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction, Our Place Drop-in Center in Bellows Falls, and the Springfield Family Center. These organizations offer groceries, meals, and shelter to hundreds of families in crisis every month, but often come up short when it comes to providing the personal care essentials most people take for granted.
Samantha Lane, Administrative Coordinator for the Springfield Family Center, said that many area organizations are experiencing an uptick in people seeking their help. They operate a day shelter for the homeless (with showers), daily meals, and a food shelf, among other services. Lane said that in December alone, 482 households (624 individuals) utilized the food shelf, 586 people received daily meals, and 68 people used the day shelter showers. Personal hygiene products are in high demand. “If these products are available through the food shelf, they go in a matter of minutes…these are the items we struggle the most to provide,” Lane said. Although many organizations sponsor food drives to benefit the Springfield Family Center, “Most people don’t think about donating personal hygiene products; they don’t realize how badly we need them.” She said that every donation helps, and they are grateful to be one of the beneficiaries for the “Good Buy” Thrift Store’s collection drive.
Jennifer Fontaine, Director of Operations at the Upper Valley Haven, said that personal care items are in high demand among their clients as well. The Haven serves 1,200-1,300 people per month at its food shelf, and up to 38 individuals in its regular and seasonal shelters and 8 families in its family shelter on any given night. “We don’t have the money to spend on these items, but there’s a huge need. People can’t take care of themselves without things like toothpaste or shampoo; plus, a lot of these items, like diapers and tampons, are really expensive,” she said. “These are things that people can’t use their 3SquaresVT benefits to purchase.”
Items needed for the Care for Kids & Families Collection Drive include disposable diapers (especially sizes 3, 4, & 5), baby wipes, infant formula, baby lotion and powder, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, feminine products, tissues (Kleenex) and toilet paper. “Good Buy” Store locations in Springfield, White River Junction, and Bellows Falls are all accepting donations. Customers may shop when they drop off their contribution or use their 10% discount during a future visit. The location, hours, and contact information for the stores can be found at http://www.sevca.org/thrift-stores/locations or by calling SEVCA at (800) 464-9951.