Community

Hygiene provided for low-income, homeless

From the right, Sandey Mulkey, Scott Dudley and Audrey Butler of the North Whidbey Sunrise Rotary Club present men’s and women’s hygiene kits to Jean Wieman, executive director of North Whidbey Help House.   - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
From the right, Sandey Mulkey, Scott Dudley and Audrey Butler of the North Whidbey Sunrise Rotary Club present men’s and women’s hygiene kits to Jean Wieman, executive director of North Whidbey Help House.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Rise and shine. The North Whidbey Sunrise Rotary Club members start their weekly breakfast meetings bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and they tackle community projects and volunteerism in the same way.

This week, club members assembled 50 personal hygiene kits that they later gave to North Whidbey Help House for distribution among low-income and homeless community members.

“You would be shocked at the number of homeless people in Oak Harbor, and homeless students, who get by on couch surfing,” Sande Mulkey, the club’s service director, said.

Hygiene is difficult for people living on the streets, she said, adding that uncleanliness is unsanitary and may seem offensive, which adds to the homeless population’s feeling of community isolation.

“There are some homeless people here, but they hide it well,” Jean Wieman, executive director of North Whidbey Help House, said.

“And it’s not necessarily just the homeless people that need these items,” she said, explaining that many low-income residents pay off their bills before they buy toothpaste or shampoo.

Employers are less likely to hire someone who interviews unkept and wearing dirty clothes.

Help House will hold onto the kits - containing soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, washcloth, razor and clean wipes - until closer to Christmas when they will be distributed to those in need.

A group of 30 members founded the Sunrise Rotary Club in 1992, and have since donated more than $6,000 annually to community and world-wide organizations that support the Rotary motto: service above self.

The club focuses on hands-on projects, Mulkey said. Most recently, club members hung snowflake decorations along Midway Boulevard and, in November, a small group traveled to Mexico to give 280 wheelchairs to families in need.

For more information about the North Whidbey Sunrise Rotary Club, visit www.whidbeyrotary.com, or call Scott Dudley, club president at 360-679-2527.

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