“There’s an incredible negative impact in not being able to have clean clothes – on your health and on your mental state,” says FOCUS Minnesota Director, Vera Proctor. In vulnerable and marginalized communities, people suffer because the tools needed to stay clean and healthy are not available.
Recently, a guest at FOCUS Minnesota approached volunteers with tears of fear and shame swelling in his eyes. Why? He had been accepted into a residential addiction recovery program, but he greatly feared being mocked because he smelled bad. For over a year he did not have access to hygiene basics – toilets, showers, and soap, and it took a toll on his body.
“It matters to us that people are treated with dignity, and provided the resources they need to live a safe and healthy life. At FOCUS Minnesota, everyone who visits the clothing closet is offered hygiene essentials like soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and laundry detergent”, continued Matushka Vera, “Our guest was given essential items and our gracious volunteers made sure he was ready to start his recovery.”
Unfortunately, “people experiencing homelessness are overwhelmingly excluded from or forgotten in hygiene efforts, despite the extreme need they have for supplies and infrastructure,” says PHD Candidate April Ballard in a recent article published by the Rollins School of Public Health. FOCUS Minnesota is directly addressing the issue of hygiene accessibility in its local community.
In addition to offering clothing and hygiene items, FOCUS Minnesota will be re-launching its laundry program this year. In partnership with local laundromats, vouchers will be given to people to use washing machines and dryers. “We are so happy that in 2022 this program will again offer a simple solution that provides someone with great help,” said Matushka Vera.
Would you like to support programs like the Laundry Program? Make a donation to FOCUS Minnesota today.
594 hygiene kits were distributed over the past year through FOCUS North America’s partnerships with Orthodox Christian communities
8,720 items of clothing were given to the community through St. Herman House – FOCUS Cleveland in 2021
Together in 2022 we can do even more! You can support programs that share dignity health, and hygiene with our neighbors by making a special gift: www.focusna.org/give