ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida nonprofit is making sure local students have much-needed hygiene products many of us take for granted.
Eight Waves was founded in 2019 and focuses on eight pillars of serving children in Orange and Lake counties.
“We Just help support the children through eight different innovative programs offering like waves of opportunity,” said Executive Director Sara Meyer. “Through lots of communication and connection and over time we just decided these are the best things that will help families out of poverty.”
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Those eight initiatives are reading intervention, birthday wish, mother mentoring, books for babies, life experience, family stability and hygiene help. Meyer said the lack of access to hygiene products a community crisis.
“With so many people struggling financially to even pay rent or electricity, often what’s happening is leaving kids without options to have toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner. These items are taxed, so we pay taxes on them. There is no government support. So if a family is in need of hygiene items, SNAP and WIC do not cover it,” said Meyer.
Meyer said that lack of access to things like toilet paper and deodorant contributes to students being absent from school.
“And we got to see first hand — a 13-year-old boy didn’t know what toilet paper was because he’s never grown up with toilet paper. So if a child smells bad, he might feel bad. Maybe he’ll get bullied. It is a whole — it’s a vicious cycle that could be easily broken by just the community rallying around and saying ‘(That’s) not happening here in Central Florida.’ That every child in Central Florida will get the necessary hygiene items they need,” she said.
Meyer said Eight Waves also provides women’s hygiene products to the families it serves.
She said Eight Waves is looking for businesses to host hygiene drives. Click here for details on how to help.