WISH LIST: Martha’s Cupboard of Richland gives personal hygiene, cleaning items

Herald staff writerDecember 8, 2013 

Wish Martha's Cupboard

Mary Gettis, leader of Martha's Cupboard at Central United Protestant Church, is surrounded by a group of church volunteers that helps provide things that food stamps don't cover to community members in need. From left, they are:Jeff Dihel, Ben and Lucy Dole, Grant Culley and Sandra Grumbien.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Toilet paper, laundry detergent and toothpaste -- all small things that many take for granted. But for the families who receive help from Martha's Cupboard of Richland, those necessities are an expense they may not be able to afford. The nonprofit, which started at Richland's Central United Protestant Church in 2002, provides Tri-City families in need with everyday hygiene and cleaning supplies that aren't covered by food stamps. Many people think when a family doesn't have money, food is what they need, said Mary Gettis, who leads the all-volunteer group. And food certainly is important. But without extra money, families can't afford toilet paper, soap and shampoo, she said. And lacking basic hygiene items can make job hunting, working and school difficult. "People are so appreciative just of the small things, toilet paper especially," Gettis said. Gettis said they get an awful lot of requests and keep seeing the needs grow. The core of Martha's Cupboard's mission is the personal care bags they distribute through other nonprofits, churches, schools and hospitals. The bags include toilet paper, paper towels, household cleaner, dish soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, lotion, body soap, feminine hygiene items and tissues. Those items, along with can openers, garbage bags and grocery sacks, make up Martha's Cupboard's wish list for this holiday season. On average, the nonprofit is helping about 1,800 families a year. The volunteers, supported by donations from the CUP church congregation, the community and grants, also put together welcome baskets for World Relief refugee families and infant bags for new moms. Everything donated to the organization goes straight to helping families, Gettis said. More information -- Donations can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Central United Protestant Church or mailed to Martha's Cupboard, c/o CUP church, at 1124 Stevens Drive, in Richland, WA 99354. -- Those with questions or who would like to volunteer for the nonprofit's monthly packing day, contact Mary Gettis at 371-1011 or the church at 943-1143. -- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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