Donating toiletries to poor schools or women’s shelters.[2018 update]
Leaving a three-day conference at a 5-star resort, I bagged two nights’ worth of quality hotel soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel, shower caps, sewing kits, and pocket combs to bring home and donate to poor schools and women’s shelters.
Many years ago, a friend mentioned that whenever she stays at hotels she collects all the complimentary toiletries every morning and throws them into her suitcase to be entirely restocked.
I started doing the same thing, and have found that a few times each year I can easily donate hundreds of valued travel-sized items. The grateful, under-funded shelters put them to good use.
We also have a number of teachers in my family, some of whom teach in poor schools, where many of the children can’t afford the basic essentials like soap, shampoo, or other toiletries. This can lead to teasing or bullying.
Some of the kind teachers keep the small bottles in their drawers to give away as gifts or good-behavior prizes. The kids appreciate them.
Imagine being 10 years old and doing your homework for a couple ounces of shampoo.
The next time you’re staying in a hotel, give it a try. It’s just a little thing, but the shelters sincerely appreciate the donations. Just toss some extra quart-sized Ziploc bags in your carry-ons. It makes travel a little nicer.
You’ll find links to national lists of battered women’s shelters here and here.