Fab Feature | Toiletries for Families
Its time for another Fab Feature girls and boys! If you missed the last Fab Feature with Marquita Thomas you can click HERE to view it. Anywhoo, I want you all to meet an amazing person by the name of Tiffany Scales. She’s a humanitarian, a poet, a lesbian, and a very good friend of mine. Her non profit organization Toilitries for Families has touched the lives of thousands of people since its inception a little over a year ago. I want t you all to take this time to learn a little more about Toiletries for Families and see what this FAB organization is all about! Enjoy :-)
Toiletries For Families is a charitable, not for profit organization that provides items for hygiene upkeep to families experiencing financial difficulties. The conviction and mission of Toiletries For Families is to eliminate various socio-economic challenges by providing essentials needed to build and maintain proper hygiene and improve self esteem.
The vision of Toiletries For Families is to infiltrate a global impact invoking a common sense of self worth and appreciation through the provision of hygiene products to the underserved. To date, over 1,000 families have received toiletries to improve their self esteem and hygiene.
What inspired you to start Toiletries for Families? How long have you been interested in helping people for?
Before my bestfriend took ill, she assured me she would save me a seat. When she passed away, all I could think about was how I would keep my reservation. I had been depressed, stagnant, for so long-I began praying for a sign–a CLEAR sign as to what I needed to do. November 30, 2010 I woke up. I started writing a blog about my experiences and then found myself designing the logo using clip art in power point. Within an hour, a friend edited my amateur design and Toiletries For Families was born.
While I, myself have no children, I have experienced caring for others firsthand. I have (had) friends and passersby who needed a place to sleep and eat. At one point, I had 6 people living with me in a 1 bedroom apartment, with one bathroom. Now, this was not a permanent arrangement, however, it was indeed an experience. I had not worked in (almost) 3 years, and was on a fixed income. The individuals staying with me were in between jobs and trying to stay afloat. Needless to say, I noticed certain household items that usually lasted months were quite scarce in an apartment with 6 women! It was a heart wrenching experience. I could not afford to maintain the luxuries I was accustomed to, AND help these friends. I began choosing needs over wants, even when the needs were not my own. A couple of friends went as far as to sell their blood and plasma to help contribute toiletries and household items.
There was this moment I thought the world had been ripped from under my feet. There was no tissue in the bathroom. Now, I am sure many of you do not understand the uproar, but I had never worried about not having tissue in the bathroom. I cried for such a long time. I have always been the friend everyone could depend on, and I felt absolutely pathetic. We had food, water, blankets….but there was no tissue in the bathroom. Then, I decided to go take a shower, and go to the store. When I reached for the soap bottle, it was empty. The tears kept falling. How could I have let things get so bad? What was I thinking? I knew they were not (all) working and couldn’t *always* contribute to the house. All these thoughts began racing through my mind as I continued to cry.
Now, I in no way am seeking pity. This is by far no plea for charity. It’s just, my experience helped me gain knowledge of a devastating truth. Foodstamps/SNAP benefits do not cover products to maintain good hygiene.
Why did you choose to donate toiletries to families instead of the norm which consist of canned goods and clothes.
Everyone donates canned goods and clothes at the end of the year-many turn around and claim their contributions on their taxes. I was having Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and stepdad and they were discussing the families their church was adopting for Christmas. I didn’t understand why they thought families would be eager to go to church for Christmas wearing donated clothes. I asked why they wouldn’t just donate soap and shampoo. My mom’s response came as a surprise, as she had no idea hygiene items were hard to come by. The families her church was adopting comprised wishlists for Christmas, and one of the children requested Santa Claus bring soap and shampoo. My mom didn’t think it was as good of an idea, and insisted on donating clothes and food. I’ve never been fond of the word “no”. I decided to help the families on my mom’s list by gathering toiletries. I sparked the interest of a few people on the poetry scene and ended up having a toiletry drive. My goal was to help 10 families before Christmas. I was able to deliver 12 families Toiletry packages. After Christmas I had another drive in January and distributed to over 150 Houston travelers that were fed by the volunteers of Andrea’s Hope. By April 2010, over 500 families had been served, by May- over 1000! It was mind blowing how many people had been helped in a short amount of time.
There are several resources for food and clothes. I was encouraged to be the change I wanted to see. I saw a gap between needs and provisions and decided to bridge it. I may not be able to save the world, but I sure can inspire the world to GIVE. Giving Increases Various Efforts to achieve greatness. Toiletries For Families isn’t designed for one group of people, that’s what I love about it. No one is left out.
Tell us about the event your currently working on with your organization.
(I’m SO excited) I am currently working on the anniversary party and 4th Quarter of Change U.N.I.T.Y. Event. U.N.I.T.Y. stands for Uplifting Nonprofits In The communitY. Each Quarter of 2011 I selected nonprofit organizations that served as conduits to the society’s betterment. This next event I am showcasing local artists who have been supportive of Toiletries For Families. I am really excited about this event because the theme is Poverty In America Awareness. My goal is to have everyone in attendance donate a minimum of one roll of quarters. I came up with the Quarter Campaign several years ago and over time realized how great it would be to have a communal support system. 2012 I will be celebrating Quarters FOR change, as opposed to the Quarters OF Change celebrations I held in 2011.
Name one positive experience you’ve had with your organization since it started.
This has got to be the most difficult question. Hmmmm I guess one positive experience is the fact that less families are suffering because of Toiletries For Families.
Last question. Why is giving back to the community so important to you?
“It’s our job to give. What they do with it is between them and HIM” I don’t sleep better at night because I helped someone. I sleep better at night because I know someone I helped is sleeping better.