Assembling Hygiene Kits

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Earlier this week Meghan and her cousin Mimi (who lives next door) saw a report on tsunami relief efforts on the news. They decided they wanted to do something to help.

Since neither one had more than a couple of dollars in their piggy banks, and just giving money didn't seem like actually doing much to them, they decided to try and gather supplies instead.

Mimi's mom Becca (my sister) helped them make up a postcard-sized flyer which they took around to all of the houses in our neighborhood (about 140 houses total), asking people to contribute items for hygiene kits. The flyer said to leave items outside Saturday morning (New Years Day) and they would come collect them.

Once they assembled the kits from the items donated Becca was going to take Meghan and Mimi down to Salt Lake to the LDS Humanitarian Center so they could be distributed globally where needed. The Humanitarian Centers guidelines for hygiene kits called for:

This morning they went around and collected the items people had left out for them. They managed to collect enough donations to assemble six complete kits and another twenty-two partial kits (soap was the most popular donation).

This afternoon Meghan and I went shopping for the items needed to complete the rest of the kits. We had fun searching for the best bargains so that we'd be able to afford to complete as many of the kits as possible. We went to at least ten stores, but we ended up finding a lot of good deals: two-pack of Vidal Sassoon combs for $0.69, 8.2 oz tubes of toothpaste for $0.69, six toothbrushes for $1.00, and 100%-cotton hand towels for $1.69 each.

We purchased all of the combs that one grocery store had and had to go to another to get the rest that we needed. It made me wonder—if you were going to assemble these kits in mass quantities, what kind of prices could you find online for bulk case-lot quantities?

The best single source I found in a half-hours worth of Googling tonight (or should I say Froogling) was for case-lot purchases. If you visit their website directly you have to register in order to see any pricing information—but, if you go to Froogle, search for an item, and click through from their link, then you can see their actual pricing.

I also discovered that there are people who clip coupons, and then rather than using the coupons themselves, auction them off on on eBay! I admit I'd never stopped to think there might be a secondary-market for coupons...

—Michael A. Cleverly

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