Toothbrushes. Soap. Shampoo and Conditioner. Most people normally don’t think much of these items other than regular parts of our daily routines. However, for some other students in Frisco, these items are much more meaningful to their health and well-being.
From now until Dec. 16, NHS is hosting a hygiene product drive for Refresh Frisco so members can donate these necessities for Frisco children who need them and receive volunteer hours as well.
Started in May 2019, Refresh Frisco is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Elizabeth Watkins to provide hygiene products to children in Frisco who need them. With her background in volunteer work and strong connections to Frisco ISD, Ms. Watkins sought to use her experience to make a positive impact on an important part of the community.
“I started Refresh Frisco because I wanted to help children in our community. I chose hygiene products because proper hygiene is important for both a child’s health and self esteem. We all know that good hygiene promotes better health and prevents illness and infections from spreading,” Ms. Watkins said. “What is equally important is that good personal hygiene increases self-confidence and helps children to feel good about themselves and their appearance. When children are confident they are better able to focus in school and form meaningful friendships.”
Refresh Frisco donates hygiene packs that include shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, a comb/brush, lotion and chapstick. Deodorant, shaving cream and feminine hygiene products are also included in teenage packs.
“We are currently serving 705 students in 62 Frisco schools. Once families enroll in our program, their children will receive a Refresh Pack filled with full-size hygiene products on a quarterly basis. The packs are customized based on the child’s age and gender preference. We feel that we are making an impact in our community by ensuring every child has access to personal hygiene products,” Ms. Watkins said.
Due to COVID-19, many families are relying more on Refresh Frisco during these difficult times. Refresh Frisco accepts donated hygiene items through contactless drop offs at numerous locations on their website or monetary donations. Additionally, people can donate items off of the Refresh Frisco Amazon Wish List.
“Demand for our services has increased over 170% since the onset of COVID-19. We now offer several drive thru pick up opportunities each quarter for families to receive their Refresh Packs,” Ms. Watkins said. “Students that choose the face-to-face learning option continue to have their packs delivered directly to their school. We have also increased the size of our board to help with the additional workload.”
For the LTHS Refresh Frisco Drive, NHS members can receive hours by bringing complete Refresh hygiene packages and by also making encouraging cards.
“We chose Refresh because we believed it was of utmost importance to lend a hand for hygienic causes,” NHS Vice President Fernanda Valle said. “People often take for granted items used for our health like shampoo, deodorant, and even hairbrushes, and finding out Refresh is meant to help those who are unable to receive these essential items seemed like a perfect organization to partner with.”
Valle hopes that the partnership with Refresh Frisco will help NHS members learn lessons in showing empathy and kindness towards people in need.
“With encouragement of volunteer service at LT, I feel that students tend to focus on completing service hours more than anything else. I’d like to think through partnering with Refresh, we can make students become aware of those who are truly in need, and realize that it’s not just about completing hours, but rather to help the community for the better,” Valle said.
NHS Historian Emma Hicks emphasizes the importance of giving back to children in the community who are less fortunate than others.
“It’s important for the community because there are a lot of impoverished and underfunded people in Frisco year round, regardless of the global pandemic. It is a duty of the people, as we are privileged to do so, to help in any way we can. We owe it to ourselves to help give these students an equitable chance at education and life!” Hicks said.
In light of the pandemic, Ms. Watkins expresses appreciation for people in the community whose contributions make the efforts of Refresh Frisco possible.
“Because we are a new nonprofit organization, our funds are still very limited. In order to meet increasing demand, we rely greatly on the generous donations of our community members,” Ms. Watkins said. “We are so grateful for the schools, sports teams, church groups and neighborhoods that have hosted hygiene products drives to help us fill our hygiene packs.”