By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Each month, the Life Matters Sunday school class at First Baptist Church buys 96 rolls of toilet paper for the Community First Center.
And each month, the center often needs more rolls.
“I am told by some of the workers at the center they don’t have quite enough toilet paper, so the need is definitely there,” said Nyla Godby, director of the Life Matters class.
Toilet paper is one of many non-food items area charities need regularly, officials say.
“A majority of our clients ask ‘Do you have toilet paper?’ or ‘Do you have feminine products?’” said Pam Griffith, director of Community First, a ministry of First Baptist Church. “I had a lady come in today and ask ‘Do you have a toothbrush or toothpaste?’”
Griffith said the client needed the items for a child.
“If I had more toilet paper, I’d be giving out more,” she said. “We also need toothpaste, toothbrushes, all kinds of basic needs.”
Each Sunday school class at First Baptist is to donate a different item to Community First, Griffith said.
“In our Life Matters class, we try to live up to what the name states,” Godby said.
A collection for the toilet paper supplies is taken, she said.
“Then I go to Sadler Paper on the first week of each month and buy a case,” she said. “There are 96 rolls in a case.”
Godby said some other Sunday school classes collect food, others collect other nonfood items.
“There are few of the food pantries that think of this type of necessity,” she said.
Catholic Charities includes a roll of toilet paper with each food basket given to clients, said caseworker Liliana Carbone.
“Sometimes we have hygiene products that people need,” she said, adding that homeless people seeking help at Catholic Charities also need personal hygiene products.
“All donations are welcome,” Carbone said.
Hygiene items also are needed a the Gospel Rescue Mission, said Charles Evans, assistant director.
“People seem to overlook everyday needs,” he said. Items often needed include shaving cream, razors, soap, shampoo and deodorant. “On the women’s side, we need feminine products. That is something people usually overlook.”
Evans said it’s likely that “when people think of the mission, they tend not to think of women, just the men.”
The Gospel Rescue Mission can serve 20 men and 17 women with children, Evans said. The mission has beds for up to 30 men. He said women sometimes come in with young children, so donations of diapers also are needed.
Lt. Jason Sebo of Muskogee’s Salvation Army said clients also often need cleaning supplies such as trash bags, dishwasher soap and cleaning spray. They also need cleaning gloves as well as outdoor gloves, he said.
“With inclement weather, we also can use hand warmers, thermal socks and thermal underwear,” Sebo said.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help
The following charities are among local agencies that welcome donations or collections of hygiene products or household items as well as food:
• First Baptist Church, Community First Center, 801 Boston St. (918) 683-0962.
• Gospel Rescue Mission, 326 S. Second St., (918) 682-3489.
• Salvation Army, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, 700 Independence St. or at the Thrift Store, 605 S. Main St., (918) 682-3384.
• Catholic Charities, 9 a.m. to noon weekdays, 1220 W. Broadway, (918) 681-6115.
• Ark of Faith, 401 E. Broadway, (918) 682-8411. (Closed until Jan. 25).