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Volunteers repair and restock free “Community Hygiene Pantry” in Athens

(Athens, PA) – There is a place where personal care and hygiene items are available at no cost. The free “Hygiene Pantry” is stocked with toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, soap, shampoo and more. Community volunteers Liz Terwilliger and Terry Johnston gave the pantry some ‘tender love and care’ recently.

The project began in March 2021, when Terwilliger hosted a Hygiene and Personal Care drive to coincide with Women’s History Month. The group held a ‘pop-up pantry’ and gave donated items to community members in need. “There were a few thingsleft over,” explained Terwilliger. “I thought about the little food pantry started by Becky’s Diner in Waverly. I reached out to Terry Johnston, owner of the Mad Hatters in Athens and asked her if she’d be interested in hosting a similar hygiene pantry outside the cafe. Terry had worked with me on previous food drives and on the hygiene drive. She has a beautiful Tea Garden and space around her building. Mad Hatter seemed a perfect fit and she agreed right away.”

Terwilliger refurbished a discarded dresser and with the help of her husband, Chris, and with the blessing of Johnston, the little pantry was installed in 2021. While food and clothing donations are important to the community, personal hygiene items are often overlooked, and are greatly appreciated by those who cannot easily afford them.

“The pantry has been very popular over the past year,” said Johnston, “so it’s worth the time to revamp and refill it.”

“Money is tight,” said Johnston. “This is something that everyone needs. You can’t purchase these items with food stamps, yet they are essential items.”

Anyone interested in donating to the pantry or helping this effort is invited to add personal care and hygiene items to the shelves any time. If the shelves are full or the donation is large, you can bring your donation in to the Mad Hatter Café. Alternatively, you may reach out to Terwilliger at 570-731-0822. Also, see updates on pantry needs and events taking place around the pantry, like future cleanups, by visiting their Facebook group, www.facebook.com/groups/communityhygienepantry