Johnson County Human Services will host a “Nut” Your Average Food Drive through the month of September collecting personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies for Johnson County residents in need. It’s an effort to help clients “store up” those items that can’t be purchased with an Electronic Benefits Transfer card (formerly known as food stamps). From 2000 to 2013, the number of Johnson County households in extreme poverty increased 130 percent.
“Our outreach centers had to meet an increased need over the summer for families whose kids typically have free breakfast and lunch at school,” said Cris Lowe, Spring Hill Multi-Service Center Manager. “In addition to the need for food donations, we are very low on personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies…so much so that we have to open up packages of toilet paper and spilt the rolls between families.”
Johnson County’s food pantries are looking for bath soap, deodorant, diapers (infant and adult sizes), toilet paper, facial tissue, shampoo, cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent, tooth brushes, and toothpaste.
“Johnson County residents who struggle daily to pay their utility bills and put food on the table are fortunate to live in a county which cares about and offers services for those experiencing hardships due to illness or loss of employment,” said Theresa Hicks, North Central Multi-Services Center Manager for Johnson County Human Services. “Think of the difference we can make for our neighbors if everyone pitches in to donate a bag of groceries or hygiene items for neighbors living in our community who could use a helping hand.”
Johnson County Human Services Outreach services has seven locations: Blue Valley, Gardener/Edgerton, North Central (Lenexa), North East (Mission), North West (Shawnee), Olathe, and Spring Hill. Each center provides utility and rent assistance. All centers with the exception of Olathe have food pantries located at their site. Individuals and families that meet low income guidelines (200% or below federal poverty levels) qualify to receive services. Appointments are required to receive services.
The public can start collecting personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies now in preparation for the September drives.  Participants can contact the Multi-Service Center closest to them to drop off donations.
Students needing services hours can gain five hours of community service by hosting a drive and collecting at least 50 items.