LONDON, ONT. -- Western University students are working to help London families struggling during the pandemic, one care package at a time

Western Student Council teamed up with the Child & Youth Network to send 1,000 hygiene kits to community centres across the city, so that families don’t have to make the difficult choice between buying food or hygiene products.

Kate Placide, global experiential learning coordinator at Western University, says that Western Student Council had the idea to create the kits as part of first year student orientation.

“What we heard from the community is that hygiene items are really needed…and the students stepped up,” says Placide.

Three hundred kits were delivered to the Northwest London Resource Centre (NLRC) on Oct. 21 and another 700 kits were delivered to community centres across London.

“The sad thing is that families have to make the choice between buying food, shampoo or deodorant, and food is always the number one choice,” says Amani Radhaa, associate director for NLRC.

Radhaa says the kits will be placed beside the emergency food cupboard at the Northwest centre so that families can take the hygiene products along with their food items. The kits will also be dispersed to families involved in the centre’s programs.

“It’s fantastic the hard work that the team has been doing as well as the support of Western University to see how all the students stepped up and supported the need in the community,” Radhaa says.

The hygiene kits have multiple products, including kid- and adult-size toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and soap.

Inside the package there are also menu makers provided by the Child & Youth Network, that help families plan meals.

Some fun items include sidewalk chalk for kids, which can help with literacy and encourage outside play.

“We would love to see kids writing messages of support to the community on sidewalks across the city,” says Placide.

The hygiene kits were also delivered to Southwest London Resource Centre, LUSO Community Centre, Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre and Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre.