Three items you didn’t know some food banks distribute

Cleveland Kosher Food Pantry volunteers deliver food to seniors in their homes
May 12, 2022
by Anna Vogel

Picture yourself waking up on the morning of a big job interview. For most of us, a big part of our preparation is making sure we’re clean and presentable. But for some, personal hygiene poses a challenge. Clean clothes, deodorant, tampons and pads are all items that low-income families may go without not by choice, but because of cost.

For 38 million people in America that face hunger, it can be difficult to put food on the table much less buy other necessities. Many food banks help neighbors in need not only with meals but personal hygiene items as well. These are not currently covered by SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. 

Here are three examples of the personal care and household items many food banks provide:

1. Diapers 

Every parent knows that diapers are expensive. But you may not know that going without clean diapers can harm an infant’s health and cause increased risk of bacterial infection. 

Our partners, Sam’s Club and Procter and Gamble, donated 5.7 million diapers and wipes to more than 100 Feeding America food network banks in the United States. For families in need, that’s one less thing they have to worry about.
2. Laundry Detergent 

Clean clothes are a necessity. That’s why many of our food banks distribute laundry detergent to families in need. 

For kids, wearing unwashed clothes can lead to being bullied at school.  It makes it more difficult for kids to engage because of their concern that their clothes are dirty. Studies show that access to clean clothes can improve a child’s performance and attendance. 

And for adults, not being able to have properly washed clothes can hinder employment opportunities, cause infections and lead to social isolation.

3. Period products 

Every day, millions of people go without personal care items because they just can’t afford them.

For women, going without period products can lead to severe health issues such as HPV and more life-threatening problems like cervical cancer. Research shows that 1 in 5 girls left school early, or missed school entirely, because they didn’t have menstrual products available.

This year, Always and Feeding America will donate more than 1 million period products through member food banks.

Contact your local food bank to see if they distribute detergent, menstrual products, diapers or other personal care items.