NUI Galway Student’s Union have become the latest partner of The Hygiene Bank, a volunteer-run organisation that focuses on tackling the issue of hygiene poverty in Ireland.
The organization’s vision is simple, ensuring that “one day everyone living in Ireland will have access to essential hygiene products.”
The Student’s Union Office based in Aras Na Mac Leinn has become a monthly donation point where NUI Galway students and staff can donate unwanted hygiene, personal care, and household cleaning products to those in need.
Such products include shampoo, shower gel, period products, shaving foam, and laundry detergent.
The next donation date is Tuesday the 19th of October from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Items will go to the Hygiene Bank’s community partners in Galway such as COPE Galway, Galway Simon Community, Galway Traveller Movement and St Vincent de Paul.
“We are delighted to partner with The Hygiene Bank this year to join the fight against hygiene poverty” stated NUI Galway Student’s Union President Róisin Nic Lochlainn.
“The Hygiene Bank are an amazing movement who help those living in poverty access the basics items they need. Their work addresses a huge injustice that exists in our society.”
NUI Galway Student’s Union Vice President and Vice Welfare and Equality Officer Cora Clarke has also stated that the monthly donation drives will aid the organisation to stop the social isolation that can occur from hygiene poverty.
“Hygiene poverty is a major issue where those living in poverty have their choices restricted” states Clarke. “It can lead to people having to make impossible choices between buying food or keeping clean. Our monthly donation drives aim to help The Hygiene Bank to stop the social isolation that can result from hygiene poverty.”
“We are delighted to be partnered with NUI Galway SU who will be organising a collection of hygiene products once a month” stated Úna Reynolds, Project Coordinator at The Hygiene Bank Galway.
“Not only are the products a huge help, increasing the awareness of hygiene poverty among the student population will be great! Hygiene poverty is not a well-known issue, and if you haven’t experienced it yourself it’s rare to be aware of its effects.”
The Galway branch of the project was set up last July as a registered charity and has continued to expand and operate despite lockdown and government restrictions across Galway.
“We now have 12 volunteers, 31 Drop Off Points throughout Galway, and have donated almost 3,000kg of hygiene products to different organisations. All products donated in Galway stay in Galway” added Reynolds. “We accept donations of new and unused hygiene products (which can range from shampoo to toilet paper, to skincare,) and people can also donate online through iDonate.”
The charity’s community partners are spread out across Galway City and County from COPE Galway and the Galway Simon Community to Clann Resource Centre Oughterard and Gort Family Resource Centre.
“A lot of organisations do not have budgets that have provisions for the purchase of hygiene products, and we have seen huge demand for donations. We are partnered with 4 out of the 5 family resource centres in Galway, who have been very grateful for the support” Reynolds added.
“Often when people are struggling hygiene products are the first to be cut from the shopping list, however when COVID19 hit these products became even more essential.”