We were really pleased to hear from Sue, who found out about us through TV’s Julia Bradbury who has been a wonderful advocate of Toiletries Amnesty over on Instagram. Sue kindly collected stacks of toiletries from friends, family and colleagues, and even teamed up with her daughter Beci to host an event at their home – sharing mince pies and Christmas cheer in aid of this good cause.
We are really grateful for Sue and Beci’s wonderful support and enthusiasm, and we are super pleased to hand this blog post over to Sue so she can tell you about the experience…
I’m always on the lookout for ways to “save the planet” by recycling, reusing and reducing the amount of my household waste that goes to landfill, and a post on Instagram caught my eye by the wonderful @therealjuliabradbury promoting @toiletriesamnesty. I thought this was such a fabulous idea – I knew I had plenty of toiletries lying around in the back of the cupboard, and I was sure friends and family did too – that I immediately decided to do a collection.
I checked out the Toiletries Amnesty website and perused all the charities that took unwanted toiletries and chose the nearest, Glass Door in Kings Road. I spoke to my daughter Beci who also thought it a great idea and we decided to ask family, friends, neighbours, gym friends and work colleagues to donate over the following weeks, culminating in a small event at our home where people could bring their unwanted toiletries to us and stay for mince pies and drinks. We set a date and Beci created a flyer to hand out to everyone we knew. Glass Door had a list of items they urgently needed, so our request for donations included all unwanted toiletries but in particular razors, shaving cream, sanitary products and also socks, new pants, and towels and clothes. I had a collection at work, where staff left their donations under the Christmas tree, and every time Beci went to the gym, she came back laden with bags of donated goodies. Our event in December was well attended; we were absolutely blown away by people’s generosity. In the end we had far too much stuff to take up, and Glass Door’s limited storage was full, but they asked us to donate to one of their associated homeless centres: The Ace of Clubs Community in Clapham, which helps the homeless and vulnerable. Ace of Clubs provide for the immediate needs of those in desperate circumstances with safe shelter, food, warmth, clothing, laundry and showers, along with advice on a range of services.
We were met at the centre by Clifton, who was in charge that day, and he found some volunteers to help unload the car and then invited us into the centre where he gave us a guided tour to see where our donations would be used. The centre was a hive of activity, with preparations for lunch. They provide approximately 100 lunches every day to the homeless and vulnerable, which is amazing. Clifton was happy to answer our questions and he appreciated the donations via Toiletries Amnesty. I found actually seeing the centre for myself and hearing about all the good work they do has inspired me. To add to this, my daughter also arranged a collection at her place of work in Wales that was donated to a local food bank which was then linked up to Toiletries Amnesty.
We take it all for granted – being clean, being warm, being well fed and having a roof over our heads and a place to call home. I will definitely plan more collections in the future, and I look forward to helping again – Sue.
Find out how you can get involved in the Toiletries Amnesty here.