So when I first shared here about Chickadee’s toiletries being pilfered by her fellow patients, many of you responded with a righteous indignation that brought a little tear to my wounded mama-bear’s eye. Several of you commented or emailed saying “Let us send stuff to them. We want to help.”
And I was touched by your generosity, so I went and mentioned it the person who I assumed was the correct contact at the hospital, and the response was… lukewarm. “It’s not really about the stuff,” was what kept being said. “This is more a matter of boundaries and appropriate behavior.” And yes, it is, but still. Some of these kids arrive at the hospital literally with nothing.
So I kind of tucked my tail between my legs and let it go, but it kept niggling at me. Really, they were going to turn down FREE STUFF for the patients? Really REALLY? And was I going to just let this go instead of doing something? I took a page out of my kids’ playbook and went for broke: I went and asked someone else, pretending I hadn’t already asked and been turned down. And I chose more carefully, this time. And her answer was, “Oh my HECK YES!”
If you want to help, here’s how:
[Wait. Let's put a sidebar here. You don't need to do a damn thing, you know. I have no expectations, this is not a hard sell, I will not think badly of you if this is not your bag. Seriously. People have asked to help and I feel like hooking those folks up with the girls who need help is the least I can do, and it's a welcome distraction from the immediate concerns surrounding my own personal girl (who happens not to be in need of hygiene items). If you want to help, that's awesome. If you don't, that's perfectly fine. Also, I thought long and hard about just giving out the hospital information and ultimately I was not comfortable with that, so instead I went out today and got a mailbox at UPS. If you feel uncomfortable sending shampoo to me to take to the hospital---maybe this is my nefarious plan to build a stockpile of soap!---I get that, but I am uncomfortable handing out the location of my child on the 'net. If I know you personally and you would rather send something directly to the hospital, email me and I'll get you the deets.]
The hospital hands out industrial hygiene items to the girls who need them.
Things they don’t stock at all that the girls want:
Stridex (and other similar acne-control face wipes) (here’s a 3-pack of alcohol-free ones at Amazon)
Tampons (!!!!) (here’s a Playtex coupon deal and a Tampax Pearl coupon deal, both at Amazon)
Maxi-pads smaller than breadboxes (so says my kid) (here’s a coupon deal on Always Infinity at Amazon)
Things they stock in crappy versions that the girls would like in versions that smell nice:
Shampoo/conditioner (2-in-1s especially welcome)
Black hair care products
Body lotion (here’s some $5 Curel at Amazon)
Lip balm/chapstick (here’s 24 lip balms for less than a buck apiece delivered, from Amazon)
What they cannot take:
Anything with alcohol in it (no mouthwash, and some facial wipes)
Aerosols (no hair spray or mousse)
Anything in a metal or glass container
Now. Quite a few of you have asked about sending stuff to Chickie as well, and I will reiterate that her needs are being met. She doesn’t need any “stuff.” Please, if you’re inclined to do something for her, send something for the other girls, instead. That said, if you would like to send a note of encouragement or whatever to her, you are nice and just label it as such and I will pass it along.
I opted for a box at a UPS Store because they can accept non-postal deliveries, which makes it ideal for anyone who, say, just wants to ship something from Amazon because they have Prime and that’s easy. (Why, look. In under 5 minutes I found this 6-pack of Suave body wash for under $12 shipped if you buy via Subscribe & Save. Plenty of other scents at that same price point lower on the page, too. Here’s a 12-pack of Suave deodorant for about $2/apiece shipped. Easy-peasy.)
We’re at the hospital 2-3 times a week, and whatever you send will go with us and go to the patient advocate’s office. She will distribute the items as needed to the girls on Chickadee’s unit and the other girls’ unit. (I am not trying to discriminate against the boys, but they don’t seem to really care that the hospital soap is gross.) You can ship it to me at:
1860 Barnett Shoals Road
Athens, GA 30605
Thank you for talking me into this. Sometimes when it feels like you can’t do anything, you sort of can. Even if that thing is just making sure that for a little while, no one who’s already in the sucky situation of being in the hospital needs to steal tampons.