Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do Good While You Travel!

I'm not a person who travels much.

Don't get me wrong, I love to travel. I'd travel all the time if I had the time or the money. And there have been times in my life when I did have those things, but the last five years or so have not been those times.

But I have been traveling quite a bit lately. I've flown up to Burlington, VT twice in the last month, because I was being courted for a job up there (which I've accepted, and I'm moving in 3 weeks!). I've stayed in a lovely local hotel up there, and in an, um, acceptable Days Inn. Each trip was three or four nights at a time. On someone else's dime, thankfully.

(Side note: that Days Inn put two "eye makeup remover towelettes" in my bathroom every day, but there was no iron in the room. Makes me wonder who they think their customers are. And I was counting on having an iron, dang it. No, I did not try the towelettes.)

I am one of those people who does not use the hotel toiletries. I prefer to travel with my own, even though it's a pain in the neck these days. Three-ounce bottles, one-quart zip-top bag, blah blah blah. Grrr! Still, I'm not inclined to leave my hair to the hotel toiletry fates when I'm traveling for a job interview. That's just not smart.

But I still take the hotel toiletries home with me.

That's right, I stockpile them, even. I squirrell them away in my suitcase so the maid has to replace them. I sometimes stop by the front desk and ask for extras, even though there are usually more little bitty soaps in the room than I would ever need in the first place. I bring my own toiletries and use them carefully so I can throw away the container the morning I'm heading home... in order to make room for the hotel toiletries I'm stealing.

See, those tiny soaps and bottles of shampoo, while I'm not going to use them, can be used by somebody. My church collects them to donate to a local homeless shelter, to go into "toiletry kits" for people living on the streets. It's possibe to donate directly to a shelter and bypass the middleman, but my church makes it easy: I'm going to church anyway, whereas I'm not necessarily going to go out of my way to swing by the shelter as I'm riding back into town. And voila, I've done something good for someone who needs it, all by saving something I wouldn't have used otherwise.

If you are a person who travels a lot, or you know someone who does, do a little research about resources for the poor and homeless in your area. Find a church or community center that makes it easy to donate your unused hotel toiletries. If you belong to some kind of House of Worship, ask whoever is in charge of outreach/mission work to do a little research on the congregation's behalf, and put out a collection bin every week to accept donations.

Use your traveling to do some good for your fellow human beings. Everybody needs to wash their hair. Not everybody has the money for a giant bottle of shampoo -- or a place to store it. I went to Burlington, VT this weekend, and bought a house. And now there will be three more people in Atlanta (without houses) who can, at the very least, wash their hair a couple of times.


Jennie said...

Well, um, I'm not nearly as nice a person as HolyKnitter, but...

as a fellow toiletry hoarder... I sometimes empty out mini bottles and put my own shampoo in.

Or, when you put towels out for overnight guests, I also put a mini-selection of mini shampoo and stuff.

Or, you know, like she said, you could give them to people who might *need* them...

poet~lover~rebel~spy said...

I laugh at you Jennie, because that's me too (ooh, this is a nice squeezy bottle -- tho I can't usually just dump, because I hate to be wasteful). But then I also shook my head when HK threw away the travel bottle. HK, don't you know how useful those things are??? For the gym, for travel, for your purse?

I am glad HK posted on this, tho. Before I got to the good part, I was already composing a comment with the exact same message in my head. The food shelf where I volunteered in high school also collects toiletries (including feminine hygiene products) and pet food for distribution.

Good luck with the impending move, HK!

HolyKnitter said...

In my defense, I only throw away the travel-size bottle if I'm flying. It's a space issue: I can't fit the bottle in the dang quart-sized bag if I've got all those other toiletries in there. Since, inevitably, there will be a tiny bit of liquid still in the bottle, I'd just have to throw it away at the airport anyway. Thanks, Homeland Security, for keeping us safe from our mostly-empty bottles of shampoo!