Do you have any of these lying around at the back of your bathroom cabinet or shoved at the bottom of a drawer somewhere? Like me, I reckon most people automatically stuff free hotel toiletries into their suitcase on their way home from holiday, even if they don’t actually need them. It just seems rude not to! Since volunteering at Crisis, I’ve deliberately been collecting as many as I can, because I know they can easily be redistributed to people who will appreciate them.
As well as food and clothing, Southampton City Mission keeps a supply of assorted toiletries. Like the food, small ‘portions’ of shower gel, deodorant, shampoo and so on are ideal, because they are suitable for a single person. I had a root through my bathroom earlier this week and managed to fill a small bag, which I’ll be taking with me tomorrow. Sometimes toiletries are donated in bulk too. Last week clients got a toothbrush along with their food parcel and the week before there was some toilet roll knocking around that got added into the bags.
I’m also re-homing a couple of small boxes of chocolates that came with an Easter egg, and will be the perfect addition to our ‘treat box’, which often looks a bit bare. Any chocolates, sweets, and so on get put into the treat box and then given out to families with children. I think technically everyone is supposed to get a treat as part of their food parcel, but there are never enough to go round. All clients do get a packet of biscuits though, to go with their tea or coffee.
There’s something very Robin Hood about redistributing your unwanted stuff. While I haven’t exactly robbed my mini bottles of shampoo from the rich, the general principle stands, I think. I’m a huge Freecycle fan for the same reason. Be it soap, shoes or sofas, people should be encouraged to find ways to rehouse their stuff, rather than amassing it unnecessarily or chucking it away so that it ends up in landfill. If you haven’t had a clear out recently, it might be time to cultivate your inner Robin Hood!