United Way collects hygiene products for schoolchildren

Oct 11, 2020

Although United Way of Greater New Bedford normally kicks off the season with a school supply drive for kids in need, this year the event looks a little different.

On Oct. 1, the non-profit held a drive at Dartmouth’s Big Value Plaza for hygiene products and cleaning supplies to ensure kids stay healthy and safe from the coronavirus in school this year.

The collection will continue through Oct. 15, after which the supplies will be packaged and sent out to schools in town as well as all over the Greater New Bedford area.

Thus far United Way has collected at least 16 or 17 banana boxes of soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, sanitizer, and other hygiene products, according to the organization’s VP of Marketing and Community Engagement Victoria Grasela. 

“It went really well,” she said of the drive. “And it’s still ongoing.”

The organization normally collects school supplies like pens, binders, and notebooks for kids and families in need.

But this year, school departments asked for basic hygiene and cleaning supplies instead.

“The truth is, families don’t have access to a lot of these hygiene products,” said Grasela. “That’s why we shifted our focus to cleaning supplies and hygiene products.”

“Families are struggling,” she noted. “They have to use their finances a little bit differently...Being out of work presents a whole new challenge for them.”

Those who wish to donate but don’t want to drop off items in person can buy them from an Amazon wish list for delivery.

“We’ve been getting items every day,” Grasela added. “There’s tons of stuff here. It’s like Christmas for me!”