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A woman getting supplies out of a box

Why “Essentials” Are Essential for Families?

At every Feed the Children food distribution event, families receive one 25-pound box of food and one 15-pound box of what we call essentials. While food is crucial, it’s not the only thing that families need to make ends meet.

Angie works at a Feed the Children partner agency. She sees the struggle families go through to make their dollars stretch.

“A lot of our recipients are considered the working poor, so they work really hard for their families. But still, at the end of the month, they come up a little short and end up hungry.”

To help families with more than just food, Feed the Children provides items like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and cleaning products. But why?

If a family receives SNAP benefits, they can use it to buy fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy products, bread, cereal, non-alcoholic beverages, and even seeds and plants that produce food.

But they cannot use that government aid to buy alcohol or tobacco, vitamins, medicine, hot food, pet food, cleaning supplies, paper products like toilet paper and paper towels, hygiene items like feminine hygiene products and make-up.

While it is important to make sure SNAP is being put to good use, many families who cannot afford enough food also cannot afford items that most of us would agree are necessary. Things like toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste are a part of our daily lives.

Alexandria is a mom to a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. She was at a Feed the Children food distribution event recently. She told us what she needs most.

“The housing necessities like toilet paper and cleaning supplies, that kind of stuff is really what’s important right now for my family.”

These products can be just as important as Alexandria mentioned. They can affect a person’s physical and mental well-being. Yet hygiene and cleaning supplies are often overlooked when we talk about poverty.

“Receiving these hygiene products is extremely important,” said Angie from a Feed the Children partner agency. “A lot of times hygiene goes second to food, so having toiletries may not be the most important thing on your list. And this just gives them an opportunity to take better care of themselves,” she explained.

Thanks to your donations, we’re able to give families food and essentials. Hygiene products and cleaning supplies are essential… and we are grateful that you’ve provided so much for children and families around the U.S.

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