Sharing hotel toiletries with the homeless of Sydney

FundraisingForce has been in business for five years as of April 2019. Over the last five years, I have travelled extensively to meet with clients and for client engagements. Travel has included Australian domestic travel, as well as international travel to the US, Europe, Asia, and Asia-Pacific. I may spend up to five nights in a hotel in a given week. During that time I have done something which would make Miss Manners cringe. Shhh…I have taken the toiletries from most hotels. I do not keep the toiletries for myself. I have been sharing hotel toiletries with the homeless in Sydney.

There are some who might suggest the hotel toiletries – shampoos, conditioners, hand creams, and, even, slippers, are not for the taking. They’d argue taking them increases the costs to hotel chains. I argue that if I was keeping them for myself or taking them home for out of town guests, then you might be right. But, passing them on to those in need seems to me to be a worthwhile deed.

Why am I confessing this to you? I have given these toiletries, sometimes multiple bags full each month, to the same homeless shelter in Sydney’s CBD. The staff of the homeless shelter have never asked my name, asked me to meet with senior leadership, or taken my contact details.

To be fair, this is not a cash donation. I am not expecting a receipt. However, the homeless shelter does not know who I am and has never bothered to take my details to have someone follow up with me or to ask me for a cash gift.

It is obvious I care about the homeless people in Sydney or I would not take the effort to collect these items and to add extra weight to my luggage each and every week. I might be ripe for a regular donation to this shelter, which does have DGR status.

I will continue to bring the toiletries to the shelter each month. It is just puzzling to me why the staff is not trained to better manage these sorts of situations for, perhaps, increased opportunity.