POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region put out a call for basic items for student in early June -- and the community has responded in an overwhelming fashion.
The United Way Summer Hygiene Kit Supply Drive began when a school nurse at a local elementary school wanted to know if UWDOR could help provide the basic necessities for some her students, who lacked underwear or socks. She had some on hand during the school year -- that she'd bought -- but she hoped children could go home for summer vacation with brand new packages. And the Summer Hygiene Kit Supply Drive was born.
The drive was also expanded to two city school districts, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, because they are open year-round for the students of the district.
"We were overwhelmed by the response from our community," said United Way President and CEO Jeannie Montano. "Within minutes of sending the email request, people were responding that they were instituting drives at their business or that they know of the immediate need in their own schools and want to help.
"One community member brought boxes of supplies on his motorcycle from a hygiene drive he started at his Bronx firehouse. To see the care and outpouring of support was an inspiration, but to hear from the school officials about how desperately needed and appreciated these items were was both heartrending and at the same time truly inspirational to all of us."
Though donations are still arriving, UWDOR has so far received and distributed:
- 501 bars of soap,
- 314 multi-packages of underwear,
- 210 multi-packages of socks,
- 300 deodorants,
- 287 bottles of shampoo,
- 72 bottles of conditioner,
- 265 toothbrushes and 178 tubes of toothpaste,
- 97 bottles of body wash,
- 81 sunscreens,
- 87 combs and 20 brushes,
- 50 razors, and
- 20 bottles of lotion.
"United Way would like to thank everyone who opened their hearts and responded to this urgent need with such alacrity," organizers noted. "From a 4-H Club to members of the Air National Guard at Stewart Air Force Base to Family Services, Inc. and members of the Poughkeepsie Garden Club, donations to this hygiene drive have truly made a difference for many of our communities' children."
UWDOR has also begun its backpack drive for kindergartners, and supplies can be dropped off at Poughkeepsie or Montgomery offices through Aug. 12. The drive is seeking donations of new school supplies, including crayons, pencils and erasers, markers, glue, child-safe scissors, pocket folders, and notebooks.
If you would like to donate funds directly to this drive, click here.