Dozens of Direct Relief Women volunteers took to the warehouse yesterday to organize 500 personal hygiene kits for homeless women in Santa Barbara County in honor of International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8th to celebrate improvements and accomplishments of women.
“The number of women living on the street in Santa Barbara is increasing,” said Direct Relief U.S. Programs Coordinator, Emily Roessler, “These kits are designed to be easy to carry for those women who are outside – on the street, in vehicles, or night-by-night shelters.”
Because the kits are designed to be small, all contents were donated as travel-size, including mini toothpaste tubes, Chapstick, a hairbrush, soap, and a hand towel, among other supplies. Each kit is valued at $17 and contains donations from individual and corporate donors, but it also provides much more than just supplies for these women in need.
Every kit includes a small pack of notes with a hand-written note of encouragement on top written by one of the Direct Relief Women volunteers: “Just to give these women a boost,” said Direct Relief Women staff liaison, Hayley Jessup, “small messages like ‘Have a Great Day’, ‘You’re Special’, ‘You’re Beautiful’.”
Direct Relief will distribute these kits to their partners throughout Santa Barbara County like Casa Esperanza, the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, and Doctors Without Walls, as well as the Safe Parking Program, who will then reach out to women in need.
As a local group of women working to support maternal and child health, Direct Relief Women provided this outreach effort as one of millions of celebrations happening all over the world, and as a way to continue to promote their work of education, engagement, and fundraising.
“International Women’s Day is happening all over the world,” Jessup explained of the world-wide celebration, “Imagine there being a huge long chain of connected arms of women around the world.”