Hygiene Kits for Homeless Students: Southern California
When the President of Sri Sathya Sai Center of Simi Valley, CA, learned that there were over 6,000 homeless students in Ventura County School District and over 7,000 homeless students in Santa Barbara County School District, she was heartbroken. Feeling a deep desire to get Sai volunteers involved, she approached the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) to explore possible service opportunities. She learned of the students' poor unsanitary living conditions in cramped quarters in shelters, motels, RVs or shared homes with multiple families with very limited resources; she also learned that they were in urgent want of hygiene kits and basic toiletries.
She reached out to members of Sri Sathya Sai Centers of Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ojai and Santa Barbara who joined together and donated supplies to make 300 hygiene kits. Sharing in a similar desire to support students’ hygiene, the Sathya Sai Centers of Glendale and Arcadia also donated supplies to make an additional 600 hygiene kits. The kits were filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizers, combs, socks, lip balms, and washcloths or hand towels.
Sai volunteers came together to assemble the hygiene kits, organizing them by gender and age groups. On Saturday, April 24, 2021, Sai volunteers delivered 600 hygiene kits to VCOE and 300 kits to Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO). The county offices distributed the kits to the most needy students within their school districts - those living in family shelters, youth shelters, safe houses, domestic violence shelters and group homes. Luz Diaz, Program Associate at SBCEO explained that youth and families experiencing homelessness had increased since the pandemic. She expressed her deepest gratitude: “I want to say a big 'THANK YOU'! The hygiene kits will meet some of the most immediate needs of those who are the most vulnerable in our student population.”
The President of the Simi Valley Sai Center observed, “Thousands of students in our own backyard do not have the basic toiletries that so many of us take for granted. We were humbled and grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in providing such basic necessities to these students.”