combat covid-19, one hygiene product at a time
Most of us are lucky enough to be able to get hygiene products whenever we need them. But so many teens in the US don’t have access to basic hygiene items. Hygiene poverty (also known as hygiene insecurity) is the inability to afford basic hygiene products for everyday use. Items like deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes aren’t easily accessible for all teens. And COVID-19 has made hygiene poverty worse.
Over recent months, unemployment has been at its highest since the Great Depression, meaning that many families struggle to make ends meet. SNAP benefits, previously known as “food stamps,” don’t cover basic hygiene products, so many families are left to make tough financial decisions. Here’s what you need to know:
- Research has shown that 58% of low-income individuals reported cutting back on food to afford hygiene products.
- The same study found that 40% of low-income individuals reported skipping or delaying rent payments to obtain hygiene products. The financial strain brought on by the pandemic has only worsened this situation.
- Teens are particularly affected by hygiene poverty during this time. Since May 2020, 2.5 million youth have fallen below the poverty line.
Feeling fresh + clean can make a big difference in teens’ lives. Having basic supplies like soap or shampoo can promote self-esteem, as well as physical and social-emotional wellness. Brushing your teeth, taking care of your skin, and smelling good can boost your confidence and improve your mood. However, COVID-19 has made it difficult for many teens to afford everyday items. Something as essential as a toothbrush may not be within reach.
That’s why it’s important to identify ways that you can help.
Our nonprofit partner, Hope & Comfort, has continued to provide thousands of hygiene products to families during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provided 785,494 products to underserved youth at the start of the school year. They’ve also donated 250,000 bars of soap to the YMCA of Greater Boston, their largest distribution to date. This year, Hope & Comfort strives to distribute over 1.5 million hygiene products. Here’s how you can join the effort, no matter where you are:
- Donate products through online orders.
- Host a virtual hygiene product drive.
- Try the “cabinet clear out” challenge. Find unused items at home that could tremendously benefit another individual.
- Send a well-wish card to support a young adult who may be experiencing hardship.
And, remember, when you buy recurrent, we donate a portion of our proceeds and products to Hope & Comfort, who then distribute it to the exact teens who need it the most.
Let’s tackle hygiene poverty together.