Library’s VISTA Project honors legacy of MLK with 2020 Hygiene Kit Donation Drive

Thursday, December 26, 2019
Dedicating efforts towards helping the less fortunate and serving others were key principles in the messages espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaking before an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1957, he posed the question, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’“

In the spirit of service embodied by Dr. King, the Kansas City Public Library’s AmeriCorps VISTA Project is collecting donations of travel-size personal care items for a Hygiene Kit Drive. Between January 2–15, 2020,  visit any Kansas City Public Library location and bring supplies to drop off in dedicated boxes.

Donated materials will be assembled into kits that will be given to individuals experiencing life challenges in Kansas City. Items will be collected and packaged in resealable bags along with a copy of the Library’s Emergency Services and Community Resources pamphlet.

Accepted kit items include:
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash and soap
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Washcloths
  • Combs and hair brushes
  • Nail clippers
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Period management products

NOTE: Travel-size or small personal care items are requested, as they are best for including in the kits.

"Everyone can be great,” Dr. King said, “because everybody can serve."
Hygiene Kit materials

MLK Day of Service kit assembly group

VISTA volunteers work to assemble kits from donations given by the community.
MLK Day of Service kit volunteers
Completed kits are given some positive artistic touches before delivery.

The notion of service is a key focus of the Library's various Outreach programs. According to Beccah Rendall, the Library's AmeriCorps VISTA program coordinator, "The VISTA Project is dedicated to the alleviation of poverty in the Kansas City metro. Every day the team works to answer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s question: 'What are you doing for others?' Along with Library staff, AmeriCorps VISTA team members are working to meet the immediate needs of people in Kansas City. This month's hygiene kit drive is part of those ongoing efforts;  in this way, we are doing our small part to emphasize that we should treat each other as our neighbors."

National events and days of service are an important part of the AmeriCorps program year. For the last 24 years, the Corporation for National and Community Service has promoted service to honor Dr. King around the federal holiday dedicated to him.

"Everyone can be great,” Dr. King famously said, “because everybody can serve."



Learn more about MLK’s legacy by checking out this list of reading suggestions available in the Library’s catalog: