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Toilet paper drive enters second year

Kelly Corbin of Corsmith Motors stands next to a Fiat full of toilet paper rolls during last year’s drive.
Kelly Corbin of Corsmith Motors stands next to a Fiat full of toilet paper rolls during last year’s drive.

Take a moment and contemplate life without toilet paper. Sure, it can be done, but for most people, going without that convenient roll on the wall in the bathroom is not a pleasant thought. Now take another moment and contemplate the fact that toilet paper cannot be purchased with food stamps.

Toilet paper is one of the most requested items at local charities, and last year, Julie Farley, owner of the Make-Up Studio in downtown Spokane and the driving force behind Project Beauty Share, put on a toilet paper drive that collected 10,000 rolls. The second toilet paper drive kicks off Friday.

“This year, we have a goal of getting at least 25,000 rolls,” Farley said. “We know it’s needed, and we know that lots of people can’t buy it.”

Project Beauty Share collects beauty and hygiene projects year-round and distributes them to local charities that serve low-income women. The toilet paper drive came about after Farley talked to one of her Make-Up Studio clients.

“It started with that conversation and then grew,” said Farley. “This year we are adding Tracy Jewelers in the Valley as a collection point. The toilet paper collected in the Valley goes to Spokane Valley Partners.”

Another beneficiary is Our Place Community Ministries, which served 17,000 people last year.

“Toilet paper is our most requested item,” said Tracie Swanson, development director for Our Place. “We run out all the time and it’s an item we have to go purchase out of our budget. It’s costly.”

Our Place gives out a maximum of two rolls of toilet paper a month for a large family, and one roll for a small family.

“It won’t last them through the month,” Swanson said, adding that last year’s donations from Project Beauty Share’s toilet paper drive lasted for more than half a year. “They are trying for 25,000 rolls? That would just be amazing if they could get that many.”

Toilet paper is one of the least donated items to local shelters and charities, just like feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and other personal hygiene items that can’t be purchased with food stamps.

The toilet paper drive also benefits Anna Ogden Hall, YWCA, Hope House, Transitions, Catholic Charities Spokane, Coeur d’Alene Women’s Center and Odyssey World International.

“I think a lot of people don’t know you can’t purchase that stuff with food stamps,” Swanson said.