From toothpaste to shampoo, Scituate middle schooler collects personal hygiene products for those in need

Street Stories

SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Scituate Middle School student Jason Polseno knows how lucky he is.

That’s why the 14-year-old is focused on helping Rhode Islanders who aren’t as lucky.

Polseno has been collecting hygiene products for the Amos House in Providence, a nonprofit organization that helps those who are homeless or living in poverty get back on their feet.

Thousands of Rhode Islanders lost their jobs amid the pandemic, taking away not only their source of income, but also their means of providing for their families.

“I feel like giving them these supplies might help them out and make their life a little easier during these times,” Polseno said.

Polseno said the reason he chose to collect hygiene products is because he believes most people take them for granted.

“People go to sleep at night without brushing their teeth and they might not prioritize good hygiene,” he said. “They want to buy food for their family, rent, and maybe they don’t have time to go out and buy everyday items that they need.”

Polseno passed out flyers at three Scituate elementary schools, as well as the town’s middle and high schools, asking for students to donate everything from toothpaste to shampoo.

The community’s response was overwhelming, and something Polseno didn’t expect. In total, Polseno was able to collect 800 hygiene products for the Amos House.

“It makes me feel good that I was able to help people,” he said. “Personally, I’ve never had to feel like I was ever in the need, but it makes me feel good to help people who are.”

Polseno’s generosity is not lost on Jessica Salter, the chief philanthropy officer at the Amos House.

“We’ve seen an enormous amount of children of all ages really stepping up and wanting to do something with their time and energy to make a difference, and it is making a difference,” she said.

Salter said the Amos House distributes 15,000 hygiene packets each year, some of which are brought to shelters and others directly to people living on the streets.

“The reality is, we don’t have anything in our budget to cover those costs,” Salter said, adding that all of the supplies they distribute come directly from community collections. “We’re beyond grateful because it helps us help the community.”

The Amos House serves more than 150,000 meals each year to those in need, according to Salter. It also provides shelter and permanent housing, job training, social services and more to people who are working to get back on track.

Salter said the Amos House welcomes donations of all shapes and sizes. For more information on how to donate, visit the organization’s website or email info@amoshouse.com.

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