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HomeAt Home & BeyondGiving Tree Toiletry Drive Underway at Local Libraries

Giving Tree Toiletry Drive Underway at Local Libraries

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The next time you pick up books at your local library, you may want to drop off donations of basic life necessities to enhance the holidays and lives of those in need.

Last year’s Giving Tree Toiletry Drive collected more than 1500 toiletry items for people in need—that’s 152 toothbrushes, 361 pairs of socks, 231 bars of soap, and 200 sticks of deodorant. And they were just getting started! With the increased need for essential toiletries among homeless and underserved populations this year, drive organizers aim to bring in more donations to fill that need.

Hernando County Public Library System’s Giving Tree Toiletry Drive launched Monday, November 27th, and will continue through Friday, December 15th. Administered through a partnership with United Way of Hernando County, donations can be dropped off at the following libraries during operating hours:

Hernando County Public Library, 238 Howell Avenue, Brooksville, FL 34601
East Hernando Branch | 6457 Windmere Rd., Brooksville, FL 34602
The United Way of Hernando office, 4028 Commercial Way in Spring Hill, will also serve as a collection site during operating hours.

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“Please consider donating essential toiletry items that will benefit United Way of Hernando County and our Partner Programs’ ongoing homeless outreach services,” read a related event notice.

Indeed, Angie B. Walasek, executive director/CEO of United Way, sees efforts such as the Giving Tree as integral to the mission of this esteemed nonprofit agency. “We are so grateful to the library system for enabling us to provide our partners with these essential items to provide for their clients and those in need,” she said.

Walasek expressed that now, more than ever, many people lack the funds to afford basics such as toiletries. “Once some families put food on the table, buy clothes and cover bills, there’s simply nothing left for even the basics like soaps, shampoos and other toiletries,” she said.

Handed out through UW agencies, products collected through the drive are placed into hundreds of kits handed out at food pantries and homeless shelters to folks in dire need.
“Our corporate partners also place some of these toiletries into baskets for the homeless,” said Walasek. “Some of which are decorated for the holidays.”

Cindy Loftis-Culp, library services director for the Hernando County Public Library System, is proud to host the Giving Tree Toiletry Drive at two library locations. This project is an ongoing annual charitable effort that forms a vital part of the library system’s community outreach.

“The library likes to help as much as we can to provide the community with items that some can’t afford,” she said.

The Giving Tree Toiletry Drive consists of those basics that enhance recipients’ lives and quality of life. Items accepted include baby wipes/wet wipes, bars of soap, black trash bags, bug spray, comb/brush, deodorant, plastic raincoats, small blankets, sunblock, toilet paper, toothbrushes/toothbrush covers or holders, toothpaste, travel-size body wash, travel size shampoo and conditioner.

“The same loyal residents come through every year to support this drive,” said Walasek. “We so appreciate their efforts.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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