The 13th Annual Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference Toiletries Drive focused on supporting those in our community who are struggling to make ends meet, as well as those who lost their homes or remain displaced by wildfires in our area. Eleven elementary schools and multiple local businesses collected over 10,000 items during the three week drive held in mid February and March. 

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The Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference Community Engagement Team and Youth Ambassadors worked with schools in the Folsom, El Dorado and Placerville areas to collect toiletries. The Hands4Hope Youth Ambassadors encouraged the schools in their geographic areas of focus to host their own toiletries drives. Each school advertised through posters and flyers that included information about their supply drive and which items were most requested such as dental supplies, deodorant, hair products, and sunscreen. 

All donations picked up from the participating schools and businesses were organized by Hands4Hope youth volunteers at a variety of sorting and counting events throughout the month of March. In total, over 10,137 items, 4000 more than last year, were collected. 

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The schools participating this year were: Oak Meadow, Jackson, Valley View, Silva Valley, William Brooks, Natoma Station, Gallardo, Gold Ridge, Empire Oaks, Buckeye, and California Montessori Project (CMP). In addition, local businesses helped the drive significantly by hosting collection barrels, including Lyon Real Estate (Cameron Park), Shingle Springs and Placerville Snap Fitness, Folsom Massage Heights, Heritage Community and Surf Soccer Club. 

The Traveling Trophy the schools compete for is given to the school that collects the most toiletries in its specific region. The 2023 winners of the Traveling Toiletries Drive Trophy are Gold Ridge Elementary, Oak Meadow Elementary and California Montessori Project (CMP). 

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“Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to all of the schools and businesses that participated in the toiletries drive this year, “ said Yoko Kono, Hands4Hope Community Engagement Coordinator, “We truly couldn’t do this without their help and generosity.” 

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All toiletries will be donated to Hands4Hope partner agencies throughout El Dorado and Sacramento Counties including, Loaves and Fishes, Sister Nora’s Place, Green Valley Community Church, Upper Room Dining Hall, and Caldor Fire survivors. 

Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference is a non-profit, youth-driven organization with the mission to inspire and empower youth in leadership and service. Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference offers hands-on education and community engagement opportunities to youth from K-12th grades through school-based and after-school programs in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties. For more information about Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference, visit www.hands4hopeyouth.org or call 916-294-7426.

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Hands4Hope youth volunteers Jennifer Cole, Taylor Milbrath, and Rohan Kulkarni count and sort toiletries donated by Folsom elementary schools.
Hands4Hope youth volunteers Brady Steed, Gabriella Dailey, Francesca Paradis, Ian Hunt, and Adisyn Merrill count and sort over 1000 toiletries donated by Folsom Surf Soccer Club.
Hands4Hope youth volunteer Taylor Milbrath counts and sorts donated essential items.
Kerri Shull
Author: Kerri Shull