KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Forty community organizations picked up free supplies of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other hard-to-find cleaning products Friday from the only charitable hygiene-specific hub in the nation.
Giving the Basics is helping make the metro area uniquely prepared to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
Catholic Charities, Operation Breakthrough and the City Union Mission are among the charities that depend on Giving the Basics to get cleaning products that are worth their weight in gold nowadays.
The organization has been delivering hygiene products to more than 500 schools, police departments and non-profit pantries for the last nine years.
But now that everyone is trying to get their hands on sanitizers, soaps and other cleaners, the group is responding to the public health emergency by pushing out its stockpile to community organizations that can quickly get hygiene supplies into the hands of people that need them.
“We have a very efficient way to procure,” said Teresa Hamilton, CEO of Giving the Basics. “We get the product in. We then count it, sort it, record it. And we get it out the door exactly where it’s needed. They order every month. The pantries order every month. The police order every month. The schools order every month. Then they pick up once a month. Now we will increase it to twice a month.”
Usually the group has an army of volunteers to help load trucks and vans on pick-up day. But with a stay-at-home order in effect around the metro area, law enforcement officers from KCMO, KCK, Shawnee and Johnson County all stepped up help with the work.
Giving the Basics gets 60 percent of its supplies donated by manufacturers, fundraising helps pay for the rest. The group doesn’t give goods to individuals and there’s a waiting list of organizations that want to receive the supplies.