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Local nonprofit collects hygiene products for vulnerable youth

Increase in need through COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 6:57 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 17:25:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A local nonprofit is helping donate hygiene products to vulnerable youth in the community.

I am You 360 is all about empowering youth with basic essentials, like a toothbrush, shampoo and deodorant.

The nonprofit started in 2013 on founder's Desiree Cook's living room floor.

"I had four children placed in foster care and it was something that I never forgot about children not looking like their circumstance," Cook said. "It’s a human, basic need, and we all deserve an even playing field in having ownership in our own hygiene items."

Cook and her family have been able to work with organizations like the Boys and Girls club to provide thousands of bags to kids across the Old Pueblo.

Bags can be refilled every six weeks, and each kid costs between 250 to 300 dollars a year. They all contain full-size products to match a child's gender and ethnicity.

"These are individuals that have their own uniqueness, and their own unique needs that are necessary to meet," Cook said.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for hygiene products have increased, so their services changed.

Each bag now comes with masks, hand sanitizers and CDC education packets. They are also offering curbside pick up and drop off, as well as deliveries.

"If you accidentally forget to put deodorant on, you’re not going to raise your hand in class because you don’t want people talking about the way you smell," Director at Holmes Tuttle Clubhouse Boys and Girls Club Nikieia Johnson said. "(It's about) making a difference on the lives of young people to enable them to have great futures."

Cook said she would like to see this nonprofit grow to other parts of the state and country to help more youth.

"#IAmSomebody, and we want to them to see themselves when the look in the mirror, but also use that I am affirmation, so they can see themselves worthy for better, to do better," Cook said.

To learn more about their mission or donate, go here.