United Way Collects Essential Care Items for Local Families

In honor of Hunger and Homelessness Month, United Way of 1000 Lakes hosts an annual Home for Good drive, formerly Health & Hygiene Drive. Now in its eleventh year, the program helps the one in four families and individuals throughout the Itasca area who relies on support to meet their basic needs.   

During November, caring community members can collect and donate items like toothpaste, diapers, deodorant, and shampoo. Donated items can be delivered to a dropbox site in the community; the locations include Echelon Wealth Partners/Ameriprise Financial – Jennifer Bymark, Children’s Discovery Museum, Coldwell Banker Northwoods, Deerwood Bank, Essentia Health locations in Deer River and Grand Rapids, Itasca County Family YMCA, Kiesler Wellness Center, Klockow Brewing Company, KOOTASCA, Northern Star Co-Op, Park State Bank locations in Grand Rapids and Nashwauk, and St. Andrews Lutheran Church.   

Donated items will be packaged into essential packs and distributed to youth, veterans, unhoused residents, and members of vulnerable populations throughout Itasca County. Advocates, teachers, and other human service professionals can request adult, child, or family care packages by calling United Way at 218-999-7570 or emailing molly@uwlakes.org 

By providing personal and household essential items, United Way seeks to relieve some of the burden faced by households struggling to make ends meet.

“Instability often leads to tough choices,” said United Way Executive Director Kim Brink Smith. “Providing health and hygiene necessities can mean that families don’t need to choose between buying detergent or filling prescription medications, or between buying diapers and filling up the car with gas.”   

The program is part of United Way’s Safety Net impact pathway, through which the organization aims to meet basic and emerging needs and respond to crises. Other impact pathways include Ready Kids, Resilient Families; Healthy Minds and Bodies; and Family Financial Stability.    

Individuals and groups wishing to support the Home for Good drive can donate at uwlakes.org/#donate or by texting LAKES to 26989, for more details about the program, including links to shop Target and Amazon wishlists, volunteer opportunities, and more at uwlakes.org/home-for-good. 

Ways you can help 

  • Host a dropbox at your church, organization, civic group, or business. Collect essential personal and home items and deliver them to United Way’s office at 350 NW 1st Ave. Suite A, Grand Rapids, when things are ready.
  • Text LAKES to 26989 to sponsor a virtual package, or shop from United Way’s wishlists at Target or Amazon.  
  • Pack a personal care pack at home! Purchase items and pack them in a cinch sack, laundry basket, or tote bag. To sign up and download the Home for Good Project Guide, visit uwlakes.org/home-for-good.   

Items Needed:  

  • cleaning supplies  
  • conditioner  
  • deodorant  
  • diapers & baby wipes  
  • feminine hygiene products  
  • first aid supplies  
  • garbage bags  
  • gas cards 
  • laundry detergent  
  • lip balm  
  • paper products  
  • razors & shaving cream  
  • shampoo  
  • soap  
  • sponges  
  • toothbrushes  
  • toothpaste   
  • wash cloths, hand & bath towels 


*Full-size new unopened items only accepted.