Six Summer Personal Care Items You Never Thought To Donate

While it is not technically summer, the 84 degree weather (in Pittsburgh) has me thinking about things like finding my flip-flops, setting out the deck furniture and maybe even planting stuff that grows. I might get ambitious and carry my winter coats to the attic this weekend. Just another ritual in the day to day change of seasons, right?

When you are doing your changeover from winter to summer clothing, supplies, gear and so forth, have you ever stopped to consider how you switch personal care items when seasons change? For example, you might use a moisturizer or lotion during the dry winter months but not need it during the warm months.

For most of us, we either have these items on hand from last year or we can add them to our grocery list and pick them up at our convenience. Not everyone has that luxury. They may not have been able to store and transport items from last year because of an unexpected move when a job was lost or because of something as tragic as a house fire. In other cases, squeezing out the extra $20 to purchase new items isn’t in the budget. And some people never had the funds to purchase the item last year in the first place.

You can help make Summer 2014 a little brighter and healthier for our neighbors.

1. Sunscreen – We all know that we should wear sunscreen more often than we do. Folks who are out on the streets either because they live there or because they are walking to work/school everyday definitely need to take this precaution to reduce the harmful impact of being in the sun so much. But sunscreen is not cheap. Donating lotions and sprays and sticks helps the neighbors visiting Cathy’s Closet to pick the formula and packaging most convenient for them and their families.

2. Lip balm – the sun and wind can dry lips even on the loveliest of days. Tubes of chapstick or vials of lip balm can help someone who works outside all day long. And it melts. Quickly. So we run out that much faster. But we need it.

3. Deodorant/antiperspirants – This is an almost essential item to function and flourish in society. Imagine going on a job interview in July and not having deodorant to apply before you go out to catch your bus or bicycle in to the interview? Imagine working side by side with someone in a humid environment and realizing you can’t buy more deodorant until the following week – no matter how well you shower in the morning, you may be feeling uncomfortable by the end of the workday.

4. Shaving Gear – While I’m not a big advocate of telling women what hair to remove from their bodies, I do understand that the social pressure to keep your legs and other parts hairless is pretty intense. And in some cases, it is again almost necessary to flourish – to feel comfortable at your work site or school. There’s a difference between someone choosing not to shave and someone having to give up shaving because they don’t have a disposable razor or razorhead refills or even shaving cream.

5. Insect Repellent – If you had limited resources for food and personal care, where would this fall on your list? Yet, what would you do if you are sleeping rough (on the street) and surrounded by mosquitos? Or what if you are working outside and have to deal with hot sweaty days and gnats buzzing around?  Did you sleep on the porch as a kid to enjoy the cool weather? How would you protect your kids from bugs now?

6. First Aid Kits – Summer is a more active time of year with more skin exposed to make contact with concrete, dirt and other surfaces that might cause some minor damage. Does your softball team have a first aid kit? That might make a great theme to collect items to donate. Do you have peroxide, witch hazel, and bactine around? What about calamine lotion? Cotton balls? Bandaids?

Other Items

  • Hair care especially clips and bands to help folks with long hair stay cool.
  • Foot or other powder to deal with sweaty feet and other sweaty body parts.
  • Eye glass cleaner to keep your sunglasses clean and durable for the whole summer.
  • Wipes especially personal care sizes.

Opinions on these items may vary, but we can all hopefully agree that being able to make a choice is a privilege that comes with being somewhat financially stable. Some folks might choose to use homemade green or organic products while others may forgo these altogether. Giving them a choice is how we lend dignity to the situation.

What are your must have summer personal care items?

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