by Riley Quigley (’23) | November 16, 2020
On Wednesday, October 27, and Thursday, October 28, the Saint Francis Service Squad hosted a hygiene drive on campus to accumulate items for the Bay Area homeless population. Booths were set up outside the Holy Cross building on campus, enabling a quick trip through the parking lot to drop off items. Drive leaders then sorted items to prepare them for donation. Proper CDC COVID-19 protocol was followed, including wearing masks and socially distancing as much as possible. Drive volunteers were split into two groups, who collected separately on two different days. After collection, items were donated to community service programs who would handle the distribution.
Elisabeth Mori (’24) explained how the team donated their items to Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose. Regarding her choice, she elaborated, “My group and I knew that we wanted to donate to Sacred Heart Community Services because it is situated in a rough neighborhood, and whenever I have, and probably the rest of the group as well, driven by that neighborhood, we’ve seen tons of homeless individuals camping under bridges and on the side of the road in horrific living conditions.”
Furthermore, Mori knew this drive was important because she recognized the importance of hygiene for the health and wellbeing of a person. She stated how “some people don’t necessarily have the same luxuries that we do…some of them have a hard time finding products to keep themselves clean.” She continued, “Hygiene is one of those things that can really affect someone’s health and self-esteem, and make someone feel better both physically and mentally even for a short while.”
The types of hygiene products collected include shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, body wash, bar soap, lotion, and dental hygiene products, as well as an assortment of miscellaneous items such as makeup and hair ties. Over eight boxes were collected in total, roughly four per group. Mori was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, saying, “I was really able to see one of Saint Francis’s core BRIC values, celebrating family, displayed through this drive…. [Our] Saint Francis family was so supportive of the drive [by] donating and spreading the word.” She described it as “one of those moments that was truly amazing to see, because this little idea that my friends and I had two months ago that we didn’t think was going to turn out as anything huge ended up extremely successful; it just goes to show how kind and supportive Lancers are.”
Overall, the event was a success. Mori added that if there was one thing she took away from the drive, it was the fact that everyone can do their part in helping the community: “Those same individuals that got me and my group inspired to do this project are probably the same ones that are going to be receiving these donations. It just goes to show that although homelessness is a huge problem in the Bay Area, anyone, including you and I, can help those in poverty, even if it’s through small acts such as donating some hygiene items.”