During this legislative session Florida lawmakers passed the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act,” requiring correctional facilities to provide women with necessary hygiene products – including tampons, sanitary napkins, toothpaste and soap at no cost to them.

Cynthia Harris, an advocate for the Greater Malibu Groves neighborhood’s underserved populations, followed this news closely and felt inspired to bring the spirit of inclusion and access to the neighborhood’s children whose parents are struggling to afford those basic needs.

Cynthia has organized a Back to School Hygiene product drive for Ivey Lane and Eccleston Elementary Schools, Carver Middle School, and Jones and Evans High Schools.

Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County partners with the neighborhood, as a part of our Neighborhood Revitalization program. Cynthia hopes that community members will stock the schools with hygiene kits that are available to students at no cost, whenever they may need the items throughout the school year.

“Parents often have to choose between keeping a roof over their families’ heads, nutritious food, healthcare and other basic needs,” said Cynthia. “This hygiene drive will help our schools curb absenteeism and bullying that stems from lack of access to the hygiene products we take for granted.”

“Children who are clean, healthy, [and] well-fed are better positioned to excel in school and to succeed in life, despite the odds that may be stacked against them.”

Feeding America released a study on access to everyday essentials and found that the rising cost of living goes far beyond housing and food insecurities. Did you know that 34% of families have trouble affording basic needs like toilet paper, soap, and toothpaste?

If you or your organization would like to help, you can reach out directly to schools to coordinate a donation.Participating schools include: