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Someone Cares Closet: Offering free personal care products for families

August 02, 2023

In the spring of 2022, a collaboration was announced by Claire’s Corner Copia and the Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) to provide personal care and household cleaning products for children and families served by YCSC clinicians. The “Someone Cares Closet” accepts donated items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, feminine products, household cleaning supplies, and more.

The project was developed jointly by YCSC Assistant Clinical Professor Carolina Rivera Parrott, LCSW and Claire’s Corner Copia owner and namesake Claire Criscuolo, RN in response to an overlooked hygiene crisis in America. The effort addresses hygiene poverty, a term used to describe the inability to afford everyday hygiene items that many people take for granted.

“Imagine being a child or adolescent without these basic items,” says Parrott. “The Someone Cares Closet provides hygiene and personal care essentials to those who cannot afford them, and every donation goes directly to a family in need.”

Several dedicated YCSC clinicians volunteer to sort donations, process requests, and answer questions from clients, clinicians, and staff. Families receiving services through the YCSC outpatient clinic and in-home programs have the option to request items through an easy-to-use online QR code process using a survey format.

Frequently used items are also placed in a central location for programs offering services to clients in the community. These frequently used items are available for quick pick-up and no formal requests or forms need to be completed. Items include bar soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes (adult and youth), toothpaste, and deodorants. Also available for quick pick-up (as supplies allow) are baby items such as sleep sacks, diapers, wipes, and baby shampoo.

Thanks to generous donations through the Greenwich Country Day School, “birthday bags” have also been made available in addition to the hygiene and cleaning supplies. Birthday bags include cake mix, frosting, candles, balloons, and small candy treats with birthday message. The bags are decorated by students at the school, and clients can request the birthday bags through the survey.

In the project’s first year, 48 families received personal care products and cleaning supplies using the survey. An additional 40 families received personal care and cleaning supplies through the quick pick-up area. More than 50 birthday bags were also distributed through both processes.

Items can be dropped off at Claire’s on 1000 Chapel Street in New Haven or donated directly from the Someone Cares Closet wish list. All families receiving services through the YCSC Outpatient Clinic have the option to receive these supplies as needed.

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on August 01, 2023