Above: Martin Allen, store manager at Tesco Clonmel, presented Orla Kerr Healy (centre) and Phil Kehoe from the Tipperary Hygiene Bank with a cheque for €1,236.51, the proceeds of an instore disc charity collection, as well as donations from Tesco stores in Thurles, Tipperary Town and Cashel
A charity where small donations are making a big difference to the lives of those in need is now up and running in Clonmel and south Tipperary.
The Tipperary Hygiene Bank collects items used for personal and domestic hygiene and distributes them throughout the local community.
It was established towards the end of last year by Phil Kehoe, who says “hygiene poverty isn’t being tackled.
“It comes behind food, rent and utility bills in terms of priority, but there’s a huge need in this area as well.
“When people are shopping they can buy two items and give one away, so you aren’t making huge demands of the public. It’s very affordable for people.”
More than 24,000 people, or 15% of the county’s population are estimated to be living in social deprivation in Tipperary.
Nationally, one in five children is at risk of poverty while one in six people in Ireland live on an income that’s below the poverty line, statistics that underline the need for the assistance offered by The Tipperary Hygiene Bank and other charities.
The Tipperary branch is part of The Hygiene Bank, a nationally-registered charity that started in England.
The Dublin-based Irish Hygiene Bank was established two and a half years ago and now has projects in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Wicklow and Tipperary.
People may donate domestic cleaning products such as washing up liquid, disinfectant and washing powder and personal hygiene products including shower gels, toothpaste, soap and shampoo.
These may be donated to the collection boxes at any of the drop-off locations in Clonmel - the Applegreen service stations at Dungarvan Road and Moangarriff; the Sue Ryder Foundation shop at 18 Mary Street; and O’Gorman’s Pharmacy in Gladstone Street.
Financial donations may also be made by logging onto the following link on The Hygiene Bank website - https://thehygienebank.ie/support-us/donate/
The Tipperary Hygiene Bank has distributed products in the local community and to organisations such as Tusla families in Crisis; the Clonmel Community Soup Kitchen and Free Food Bank; the Clonmel Community Resource Centre; Cuan Saor women’s refuge and the Ukrainian refugees project in Fethard.
“It’s working very well and we’re helping a lot of people, says Phil Kehoe, who’s the project coordinator for the area, while Orla Kerr Healy is deputy project manager.
Some of those who have benefitted include grandparents looking after their grandchildren, whose parents may have succumbed to drug addiction; single parents, and parents who are unemployed.
Phil Kehoe says the charity has received good support from Tesco and Clonmel Credit Union.
The Hygiene Bank partners with organisations that work throughout south Tipperary to ensure that donations reach the people that really need them. Everything that’s donated locally is given out locally.
“It would be even more effective if we could increase the number of drop-off points and companies involved, and recruit more volunteers,” says Phil Kehoe.
“The staff of Tipperary County Council organised a collection last Christmas. Other companies and groups of people are welcome to do the same and help make a difference to people’s lives.”
If you wish to volunteer or are involved in an organisation that would like to receive donations from The Hygiene Bank, contact Phil Kehoe on Facebook or log onto Thehygienebank.ie.
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