Even as the Hernando County public library system enriches minds with its vast selection of books and educational resources. The system also seeks to enrich the lives of community members through its “Giving Tree Toiletry Drive,” which is an annual event that will take place from Thursday, December 1st through Saturday, December 17th.
This drive will benefit United Way and its ongoing homeless outreach programs. Donations can be dropped off to the following libraries during operating hours:
West Hernando Branch (6335 Blackbird Avenue)
Spring Hill Branch (9229 Spring Hill Drive)
“This is the second year our partners at Hernando County libraries have coordinated this December toiletry drive for us,” said Angie Walasek, executive director/CEO of United Way of Hernando County. “I believe it’s because our friends at the libraries see first-hand, and recognize the need for ‘getting back to the basics.’”
The basics that are requested for this drive include baby wipes, bars of soap, black trash bags, combs and brushes, deodorant, small blankets, socks, sunblock, bug spray, toothbrushes, toothpaste and toothbrush holders, travel size body wash, shampoo and conditioner. “Toiletry items have been identified as a much needed necessity at our Hernando food pantries and shelters,” said Walasek. “This effort will also support United Way of Hernando County’s homeless outreach efforts, their Proud Partners, as well as COAD Members (Community Organizations Active in Disaster).”
More than ever, Walasek points out, basic necessities are predominating the holiday wish lists of people in need. “While some are wishing for bicycles and video games this holiday season, others aren’t quite as fortunate,” she said. “Some of the families contacting us for Christmas assistance are also stating they could really benefit from socks for their children as well. All items received are organized by United Way Student Board Members and pre-packed for distribution.”
Cindy Loftis-Culp, Library Services Director of Hernando County Public Library System, sees the Giving Tree Toiletry Drive as an extension of services vital to the library’s patrons and the community as a whole. “The role of the public library is supporting their community and being that community hub,” said Loftis-Culp. “In doing so, we see a diverse variety of people come through the doors every day and partnering with United Way gives us the opportunity to give back even more and to possibly change lives. The library offers a wide range of free materials and services and one of those services includes information to agencies that can help with specific needs especially during this time of year. “