The Pantry contributes to the health, dignity, and self-worth of persons with very low incomes by making available at no cost basic personal hygiene products.
- All persons who present themselves at the Pantry are served.
- No application or means-testing is required.
In 2010, clergy and lay leaders at University Congregation Church (UCC) began to explore outreach ministry options for responding to unmet community needs. Those conversations led to awareness that the Wichita area was without any program to provide low-income residents with hygiene products.
UCC learned that for persons with very limited incomes, hygiene products are relatively expensive and may be viewed as a secondary need to food and other high-priority living expenses. Morever public assistance such as Food Stamps does not cover purchase of any personal hygiene products, and most food banks do not have these items regularly available. Yet the importance of personal hygiene ranks high in preserving the health of families and children, and enabling adults to participate in the workforce.
The unmet need was compelling, and by October of that year, UCC had forged the community partnerships and provided the seed money that enabled the Head-To-Toe Hygiene Pantry to open its doors for the first time.
The Hygiene Pantry partnership was initiated by University Congregational Church which also brought together vital and ongoing contributions from other community nonprofit organizations.
- A strong partnership has been forged with United Methodist Open Door Food Ministries as they offer the Pantry space in their building at no cost, and make it possible for every dollar donated to go toward purchasing products.
- Corporate contributors include The Kansas Health Foundation, Showalter Foundation, One Call Concepts, Cargill Cares, Delta Dental, Ameriprise and Meritrust.
- Product donation partners include the Kansas Food Bank, Mending Place Ministries, Kansas Health Partners, Friends University, First Presbyterian Church and Plymouth Congregational Church as well as many other school and church organizations, and generous individuals.
- Volunteer work partners include a cadre of 30-40 volunteers who regularly assist in purchasing, repackaging, transporting and distributing products. We find that school-aged children are also great volunteers!
- Administrative Partner is University Congregational Church which provides in-kind support including accounting, printing and volunteer recruitment for obtaining, packaging and distributing product.