Finding out there are students in Bartow County who don’t have the basic essentials they need, like soap, toothbrushes and underwear, motivated Rachael Day to do something.
Last July, the Cartersville resident started Bartow Basic Needs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing feminine hygiene products, bar soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear for boys and girls ages 4-12, socks and lice kits to underprivileged students in the Bartow County and Cartersville City school systems.
“I was told by a friend of teen girls missing school because their families are unable to provide feminine hygiene products,” Day said. “I was also told of kids with only one pair of underwear and socks. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Probably within a day or two, I was on the phone with school counselors that told me that this information was true. I, along with a few friends, thought that we could help. Then Bartow Basic Needs was born. I know I can’t take care of all the kids in the world, but I know I could try and help the kids in need in our county.”
The executive director said the nonprofit, which officially became a 501(c)(3) in August, tries to sponsor a collection drive at local businesses every two months and will be having the next one this weekend.
“When children lack basic needs, they face embarrassment, shame and insecurity,” she said. “But we can help.”
Members of the community can drop off needed items today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bodyplex Fitness of Cartersville at 25 Collins Drive and Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Treasure Chest Outlet at 927 N. Tennessee St. in Cartersville.
Those who can’t make it to one of the collection sites this weekend can still donate to the cause.
“Anyone can contact me to drop off or I can pick up items,” Day said.
There are a few items that the organization, which relies on its Facebook page, website and word-of-mouth to get the word out about its mission, always needs due to the high demand.
“Feminine hygiene products are always a huge need, but we do seem to run low on kids’ toothbrushes and toothpaste and kids’ underwear sizes 4 to 6,” Day said.
The Taylorsville native, who is assisted by her friend, board Chairman David Paul, said she stays in touch with the social workers and school counselors regularly to keep their needs list updated.
“Some schools have more needs for different items,” she said.
After each collection drive, Day said she delivers the contributions to the schools.
“We have given donations to every school in Bartow,” she said. “We try and get a donation box to every school with every drive we have, but we do run short of some items. In those cases, we would rotate, and the schools would take turns with each donation drive.”
Day said she also keeps a few items on hand for emergencies that come up between deliveries.
“Sometimes I do get calls of urgent cases where a child is in need of an item like socks, underwear or other basic necessities,” she said. “I do keep some items in stock to deliver that item to the school for the child that day.”
The director said she’s grateful for the business and community support the nonprofit has received so far because it would “not be possible without their generosity and donations.”
To contact the organization, call 678-386-8654 or email email@example.com.