Rochester ministry is collecting hygiene items for refugee families
Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach is collecting donations of hygiene products for the refugee families it serves. The specific items the ministry needs the most are toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, bars of soap, deodorant and menstrual pads.
Up until last spring, Mary’s Place had designated one day each week when refugee families could come into the ministry and pick up any clothing or hygiene products their families needed, in addition to the one day a week when the families could come to pick up food, according to Charlsey Bickett, executive director. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the ministry to temporarily shut its doors last March, the ministry’s staff and volunteers worked quickly to find a way to continue meeting at least some of their refugee families’ needs, she recalled.
“We knew that it was not safe to have people coming to us. With literally four days turnaround, we were able to completely change our program from being a pick-up to a delivery. I can’t believe we’re doing it, and we’re still doing it,” Bickett said.
With the help of volunteers, Mary’s Place has continued to offer weekly delivery of food and supplies to refugee families. There were 65 families signed up to receive these deliveries in March, and by mid-December the ministry was making deliveries to 130 families each week, Bickett said. These deliveries not only meet the families’ physical needs but also serve as a way for the ministry to let the families know they’re not forgotten, she added.
“There are a lot of things we’re not able to do. We can’t have in-person English classes,” she said. “Just knowing that every week at least we’ll be able to make that connection and let people know that we’re still thinking about them and making sure they’re still healthy has been huge.”
Those interested in donating hygiene products are asked to call Mary’s Place first at 585-270-8626 to arrange for a time to drop off the products or for them to be picked up.