Soap. Shampoo. Toothpaste. A washrag and a toothbrush. Bare necessities that most people don’t think about much – unless they don’t have them.   Tom Bolt, Chair of the The Salvation Army Advisory Board announced Friday that the organization has launched a Care Bag Program and is requesting donations of personal toiletries to help with the outreach project.

The organization plans to assemble the donated toiletries into individual "Care Bags," which it then will distribute to homeless people and to elderly people trying to live on limited incomes, said Maria Ferreras, a member of the Salvation Army’s local advisory board. "Our goal is 500 bags," Ferreras said. "We’re trying to do a lot of things to alleviate the daily suffering of these people."  The fledgling advisory board, formed six months ago to assist the local Salvation Army with its outreach projects, has set both long-term and short-term goals, Ferreras said.  The care bags are one of the short-term projects – a simple project that can make a big difference in someone’s life, Ferreras said.

"This is so they can have the bare necessities," said Tom Bolt, chair of the advisory board. "There’s so many in our community who don’t have these basic necessities."

The advisory board already was able to help in a variety of areas, including enlisting help from a local service organization to repair a hole in the roof of the Salvation Army kitchen, where free lunches are prepared for the homeless and those in need every weekday, Craig said.

Long-term projects include trying to start a "second harvest" program on St. Thomas, Bolt said. Such a program would collect food every evening that restaurants and hotels otherwise would throw away. Other long-term goals include capital improvements to the Salvation Army’s existing structure and setting up a medical clinic for the homeless that would allow them to get help when they show up for meals, Bolt said.

For the care bag project, the organization is seeking donations of personal toiletry items, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, shampoo, soap, combs and brushes, Ferreras said.

The drop-off points for donations are Corporate Place in Royal Dane Mall and the Salvation Army on Back Street. The organization also is seeking volunteers to help with its programs.

For more information, contact Maria Ferreras at 774-5203.