Our goal is to raise public awareness of the need for basic hygiene items in our community. We offer brochures listing our services, needs and ways the public can participate. The brochure also contains contacts for those who would like to receive assistance. We also offer employee and employer training in areas of personal hygiene and the workplace. Our great desire is to restore self-esteem through education without embarrassing the clients.
Imagine a social worker coming to your house or apartment to conduct an inspection. If you do not pass you could be homeless. You may not have been able to afford the cleaning products you need or have the knowledge or skills to keep your house in order. We offer house cleaning talks and have gone on crisis calls to help individuals and families clean, with proper cleaning supplies and show them how to be organized. Often times when people get the courage to finally ask us for help they have been without soap or shampoo for quite some time, so we respond and deliver as quickly as possible.
We do our best to recognize the different hygiene needs of all of our clients. We deliver products for African-Americans to various programs in our community. Our volunteers deliver products to the Latino community through churches and Latino organizations. These are products such as hair gel, cholesterol lowering treatments, shower caps and extensions. We also have been able to provide clothing vouchers in Spanish and have four volunteer interpreters.
Dialysis and Amputees
We service these patients through local hospitals, Dialysis and Amputee units. Many of these patients are sent home to live on very little disability income. Good hygiene is a must for people with diseases that may lead to amputation, diseases like diabetes and cancer. One patient was cleaning herself with cooking oil and taking it off with rubbing alcohol because she had no other means until we arrived. Their health is a priority to us.
This is an annual program we do for people in homeless shelters. We put donations of large-size bath and shower items in backpacks or shower caddies. In those we strive to include some “luxury” items like nail polish, shaving cream, perfume samples, and we include a Bible. Many people help our programs through out the years. These noble people made the 2004 years’ Esther Project possible either through finances, prayer, products, volunteering their time, or all of these. This is a special thank you for their selflessness and for helping us make this holiday project an annual event and not just a fad. Albertson’s, Artist Richard Wood, Buggy Bath Car Wash, Dr. Ian and Wendy Buxton, Care Chest, Char and Jerry, Jennifer Denison, Dermody Properties, Tracy Gallaway, His Word Books, Jack-in-the- Box Employees, Rebecca LaBeau, Macy’s Reno, Martha and Jerry Nims, Dr. Gerald and Connie Peterson, Scolaries, Idora Silver, Soroptimist, Marietta and Loren Steward, Evie Taylor, Wal-mart, University Family Fellowship, For His Glory Ministries, Shiloh Ministries.
This is our program where we buy after market or over stock flowers from a local grocer for one to five dollars for five to over fifty bouquets. We take the flowers and donated vases to the agencies we serve. Domestic violence agencies, senior care, aids clinics, Ronald MacDonald house, Spouse House, missions and shut-ins. We make sure they know God cares for them and has not forgotten them and has heard their prayers.
Health, Beauty, and Aesthetics
We offer to anyone in need, free of charge, any personal hygiene products or cleaning agents we have available. We have seen this help people with better health – mentally, physically and emotionally. This also helps in the aid of the prevention and slowing the spread of infections and disease. We have volunteer stylists who donate their time and services to our clients for everything from a simple haircut to pedicures and manicures. We also have scar and tattoo removal services given to our clients for free or at a discount. We also work with the local college and clinic for discounted dental health and have had dentists donate their work. These services have been very beneficial to those clients looking for and gaining employment. We are able to get them free eye glasses and an optical exam for a reduced rate. We try our best to restore sight to the blind and to see smiles free of pain return to faces.
P.W.A.’s (persons with A.I.D.’s or H.I.V.) have special hygiene needs. We deliver bleach and other strong cleaning agents to them and through related agencies fill special needs like thermal underwear. They are a special part of the Flower Power program and we try to reach as many with flowers a week as we can. They need special hugs as part of their self esteem building, to know they are not the lepers society sometimes portrays them to be. They also need to know that H.I.V. is a horrible disease not a judgment from a God, whose real love for them is always unconditional. God’s love for them is unconditional and so is ours. Many have special optical needs we have been able to meet as well as special hair care options.
Kids Care 4 Kids
We always have served the kids in each category of our programs. Our personal hygiene kits are put together by volunteers. Our volunteers found that their kids have great compassion for the things we do and often asked their parents if they could help. Our Kids care 4 Kids program provides personal hygiene for kids to sort and bag up for other kids receiving these grooming kits. The kids work much faster than the adults and have a lot of fun doing it. Once a year we take the kids on a tour of some of the agencies we drop off the kits to, agencies that serve runaway, displaced, homeless or abused children. In these kits we always try to put in little extra’s like tooth paste, tooth brush, socks, gloves, wash clothes along with the other basic kit items. Whether the volunteer family is a single parent home or stay at home, they have found this program is easy to supervise, involves their children in the community needs, and is something the kids get their friends involve with.
Why are these programs needed?
In Washoe County there are currently 12,000 people receiving public assistance in the form of TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) and food stamps. People on assistance are not allowed to purchase soap, toilet paper, feminine protection, cleaning supplies, or any non-food items. Webster’s Dictionary defines health, hygiene and esteem as: freedom from defect or disease, being physically and mentally sound, wholesome, promotion of good health and to have a high opinion or value, high regard or respect for oneself. Welfare case workers have responded positively to the Community Cabinet projects, including the Women’s Cabinet effort. They tell us they have longed for years for a program where their clients could obtain basic hygiene items and paper goods. Some people are so desperate for these items that they have admitted to pilfering them from private businesses and public restrooms.