Gillette Rotary Club started the Campbell County Hygiene Project after hearing that many children participating in "Shop with a Cop" were using the holiday shopping opportunity to get basic hygiene items instead of toys. We then spoke with several school nurses and school counselors and we learned that with the economic decline in Gillette many families were unable to afford basic hygiene items.
The Campbell County Hygiene Project officially launched in 2019 with the mission of delivering packages to Campbell County Title I schools and the local homeless shelter. Each package contained a washcloth, travel sized hygiene amenities, and dental hygiene items. For the adult bags delivered to the local homeless shelter a razor, bottle of lotion, and razor were added to the package. We were excited to donate about 900 hygiene packages to the community during our first project year.
With the great success we had during 2019 Gillette Rotary Club decided to continue with the project during 2020. In addition to the Campbell County School District and the local homeless shelter we added the Volunteers of America and the Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation to the recipient list. This was also the first time the project evolved, we decided to base the school district numbers off of the local Blessings in a Backpack distribution numbers and we decided to change the hygiene product size from the travel amenities to larger sizes that would last longer. With the size change we decided not to distribute dental hygiene items as Title I schools could receive those items through another donation source.
During the 2021-2022 year we were able to increase the amount of packages distributed to approximately 1400 for the Campbell County School District and 250 for our local community organizations.
As we began our 2022-2023 Rotary year we were faced with two project challenges, one was the rising cost of items and two was the supply chain issues. Our club board decided to increase our budget by an addition $1,000, which helped with purchasing items. Even with the budget increase were still faced the issue getting items. These obstacles meant we had to evolve our program once more. After a meeting with Campbell County School District nurses we made a minor change to our ordering process. Instead of the club ordering off of the Blessings in a Backpack numbers we created a shared Google document where the nurses can place their orders for exactly what is needed. We are also able to deliver items to additional schools that aren't classified at Title I, but still have a student population in need. This year we also added feminine hygiene products to the items we distribute as there is a new demand due to their long time donor decided to change the quantity being donated.
During the 2022-2023 project year we delivered 967 hygiene packages, almost 1500 sticks of deodorant, 8 lice kits, and 3600 maxi pads and tampons to the Campbell County School District students. The community hygiene packages stayed the same at 250.
The project for the upcoming year will maintain the past community giving and has the goal to add a delivery of hygiene items to Youth Emergency Services. We are also very excited to continue with having the nurses order the items for their school based on their individual needs.