Personal hygiene items wanted in anti-bullying drive

Personal hygiene items wanted in anti-bullying drive

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - School supply drives are taking place all over the Richmond metro, but one aims to provide basic personal items to students as part of an anti-bullying campaign.

It's a painful reality that some kids are not able to wear clean clothing or even shower consistently because of their unstable home lives. Their parents are unable to afford food, let alone toiletries.

"A lot of our children are living in conditions that we couldn't even begin to understand," Nikki Williams, a teacher in Henrico County, said. "As a teacher, I have done all kinds of things to make sure my kids are OK. From laundry to providing toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, wash clothes."

Back-to-school drives for classroom supplies are now in full swing, but many kids are still left without the essentials, fearing their appearance will trigger bullying.

"A lot of times, their hygiene affects their ability to interact with other people," Williams said. "So, if a kid is smelling really badly or looks unkempt, it often times affects their ability to focus or participate or (it leads to) bullying."

A Richmond-based group called the Excellence Closet Foundation is collecting items like deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and sanitary napkins to pass out to schools across the Richmond area. Founder Tara Adams says the organization has helped nearly 2,000 students with these kinds of items over the past two years.

"It effects the kid's performance, as a result of being ostracized," Adams said.

The Excellence Closet Foundation picks up donations from d rop-off spots and sends them directly to principals, nurses and guidance counselors.

The drive runs through Aug. 31. Items can be dropped off or shipped to Gold's Gym at 4346 S. Laburnum Avenue and Youfit Health Club at 3041 Mechanicsville Turnpike.

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