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ROELAND PARK, Kan. — Imagine if you had to go just a few days without some of life’s basic home items: soap, shampoo, toothpaste. These items are not covered by public assistance programs, so a new charity in Kansas City called “Giving the Basics” is helping make sure no one has to go without those human dignity items:

Bishop Miege High School Senior Katie Wasinger says everyone has heard of drives for food or clothes, but she decided to organize a basic needs drive for National Catholic Schools Week because it’s not something people are really aware of.

“I had a lot of people coming up to me saying ‘define basic need'” she said, “shampoo, soap, razors, they never really thought about it.”

But it makes perfect sense to her why it’s so important to help struggling families with this basic need.

“Everybody wants to be clean, nobody wants to be dirty, it’s not a good feeling,” Wasinger says.

Lynnette Koenig with school ministry imagines how these items help a poor family, help a child go to school with confidence.

“If they don’t have clean clothes, clean body, hair, it doesn’t make them feel very good about themselves,” she said, “and this gives them the chance to fit in with everybody else.”

Giving the Basics founder Teresa Hamilton says she’s overwhelmed to see the thousands of items donated at both Bishop Miege and the other drive going on at Notre Dame de Sion Catholic School.

“It starts with the children saying we care about human dignity,” she says, “so it brings awareness to the need.”

Hamilton will take all these donated items to places like food pantries and homeless or domestic violence shelters. And she challenged others to think about this need, and walk a mile in those shoes.

“What would I do if I didn’t have toilet paper? We offer the “Giving the Basics Challenge” to everybody,” she says, “go without shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, soap and toothpaste for three days and see if you could get a job.”

Hamilton encourages others to hold basic needs drives, and participate in a community wide toilet paper drive coming up very soon. It’s called “Spare a Square” and it’s being organized by a group called “Project Change.” Click here for more on that: