Administrative professional team spearheaded toiletry drive
The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s administrative professional team organized a toiletry drive for items on campus during the month of June.
HSC Health’s senior executive assistant Karen Coleman, who spearheaded the drive, said she was inspired to act after visiting the student pantry. There she saw a need for toiletries such as soap, shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant, razors, feminine products and other necessities.
“There was a box for them, but it was empty,” she said. “They had some items of food, but they didn’t really have very many toiletry items. And so, I thought, ‘Students are coming back to campus soon.’”
Provision Promise, a national nonprofit that donates toiletries, surveyed more than 100 college students across the country and found that 45% missed class because they didn’t have access to essential hygiene products. Some items the students struggled to get included soap, shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent and tampons, according to the nonprofit’s website. The students stayed home rather than face the humiliation of not feeling clean and healthy for class.
Donations from the ATP drive, Coleman said, will be split between the student pantry and HSC Health. Toiletries are particularly crucial donation items because they can’t be purchased with food stamps, and those supplies are often too expensive for a student’s budget.
HSC’s toiletry drive exceeded expectations
Across campus, the Administrative Professional Team garnered enough donations to create 95-gallon Ziploc bags filled with vital toiletries — 14 kid bags and 81 adult bags. Coleman believes this is the first time HSC has ever done anything like this.
The admins team was not expecting this many donations and they are extremely hopeful that the generosity of people on campus makes a lasting impression on everyone who benefits.
“To receive 95 bags that we could distribute, I just thought it was amazing,” she said. “The employees in student services were so excited. This is really going help students, and I just think that it’s important to give to others.”
Jessica Rangel, HSC’s executive vice president of Health Systems, worked alongside Coleman to collect high-demand items for the toiletry drive. She said the drive personified the mission of HSC.
“Let’s face it, toiletries of any kind are expensive,” said Rangel. “Items that help with basic hygiene are essential, yet many in our community have to forego them when deciding between other priorities. HSC has fully embraced the Whole Health model where empowering others to participate in the care of their body, mind, spirit and environment is front and center. Because of the generosity of our HSC family, these items are yet another way to show that we care about each other: whole person, whole health. Having these items available is vital to maintaining health and wellness. That’s what our community is all about.”
Reaching across campus
The APT Outreach Team put together an Amazon wish list that detailed which supplies students need the most. About 95% of donations came from that list. With an easy click of a button, many students’ needs were met. Additionally, Coleman worked with the APT team to set up boxes around campus where faculty, staff and other students could leave donations.
“Team members across campus were responsible for their box and getting the donations and bringing them to our site where we were holding everything,” she said. “We tried to create generic bags filled with whatever we received: deodorant, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste.
Her team worked to put the bags together and wrote notes on index cards to brighten everyone’s day. She wanted to make a positive impact on the daily life on campus. By helping students and patients today, she’s improving the future of health care in our community.
“It was a small donation, but hopefully it’ll make a lasting impact for somebody,” she said.