Homeless women in Temecula and Murrieta have a new guardian angel: 16-year-old Kimberly Glover.
For a school community service project, this determined Menifee teen collected enough donations to fill 170 personal hygiene kits with toiletries for homeless women who will receive the gifts from the local non-profit organization Project T.O.U.C.H.
Kimberly was inspired to action after she watched an episode of Dr. Phil on TV about a homeless woman who was having a hard time acquiring basic hygiene products most people take for granted and taking care of herself.
“A homeless woman was trying to get her life back on track and she reached out to Dr. Phil for help. They showed a clip of her going from place to place, using public bathrooms to clean herself up, to shave her legs. She got her life back on track. He helped her find a job and got her an apartment,” Kimberly explained.
Kimberly, a junior at Santa Rosa Academy in Menifee, a charter school, decided to focus her school community service project on collecting toiletries for homeless women. She reached out to several local non-profits and many rejected her offer to help, she said, but Project T.O.U.C.H. was thrilled. Project T.O.U.C.H. runs a Transitional Housing Program that serves more than 120 people each month and operates a cold-weather shelter that houses over 30 homeless people every night during the winter months in Temecula and Murrieta.
Kimberly initially planned to collect toiletries with coupons but then began to email companies she found online to seek donated products. “I contacted 147 companies. I went to different sites and would type in donation requests. I would just email them individually,” she said.
Her email campaign lasted from October 2012 through January. Many companies did not respond and some sent rejection notes. Only 13 responded positively, Kimberly said.
Despite being a little discouraged at first, the project ended up a huge success because the companies that did help came through with lots of products for Kimberly’s hygiene kits. Pretty soon, the one-bedroom apartment that Kimberly shares with her mom and sister was filled with bags Kimberly put together containing a range of toiletries for the women.
Kimberly-Clark came through in a big way by delivering five large boxes filled with feminine supplies.
Beiersdorf, a global skin care company, donated sample-sized lotions, body washes and coupons for free products; Kao Corp., a Japanese company, gave shampoo, condition and lotion; Earthpaste donated toothpaste; OPI donated nail polish; the San Francisco Soap Company donated soaps; Tom’s of Maine sent body wash bars; Sunstar America sent toothbrushes; Natural Dentist donated mouthwash; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps sent body wash; DenTek sent dental floss; and a company called Clear Bags gave Kimberly 300 bags she used to package everything up.
In addition, the local Susan G. Komen organization gave toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner and vitamins.
“I am so proud of her. She’s a great girl. She’s hard working. She did a good job and she did it all by herself,” said Kimberly’s mom, Anna Arthur.
Project T.O.U.C.H. Founder and President Anne Unmacht said, “We can’t do what we do without the generosity of the community. Kimberly is a dynamic young lady and we are so proud of what she has done for those in need.”
Kimberly said the project was hard but worth all the effort. “It was an awesome project. It was really awarding. I learned to be appreciative for what I have. Others don’t have as much.”
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.