Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

We moved into our home almost four years ago, yet I'm still unpacking boxes. I'm embarrassed to admit we keep a storage unit that's full of boxes of things we must not need because they reside a few miles away behind a chain link fence on Northcrest, unseen and untouched. Sunday I decided to liberate the contents of one box that I stuck in the corner of my closet when we moved in. At the bottom of the box are my "summer" clothes -shorts and tops that people who live in warmer climates need in the summertime. I wore them in Grants Pass, but not so much here.

The top half of the box was a graveyard for travel-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, mini bars of motel soap, and small containers of body lotion, shower gels and tooth paste that I grab when I'm packing to go somewhere.

When I sorted through all the products, I was surprised to find how many duplicates I had and how much space this stuff was taking up. So I made three piles: unlabeled or dried up products to throw away, partly-used products I'll use when I travel and full, new-looking ones. The latter went into a bag I'll be bringing to my Rotary Club lunch next Thursday.

At our last Rotary Board meeting, the needs of Harrington House, a program of Rural Human Services, were discussed. Budget uncertainties and cutbacks in Sacramento have impacted Harrington House and its ability to keep food and personal hygiene items available for the residents. Our Rotary Club has applied for a grant to help with the food and we're also collecting bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, soap and other bare essentials for the adults and children who find safe haven from domestic violence at Harrington House.

According to a letter to the editor published in The Daily Triplicate July 28 from director Jodi Appel, "last year alone, 3,548 shelter nights were provided, 10,235 meals served, and 6,500 individual and group counseling sessions were held at Harrington House. "Over 800 victims of domestic violence and their children received services."

Recent updates on the state of the economy are like a dark cloud over most of us, but no loss on Wall Street or cut in pay could compare with the pain and fear a victim of domestic violence faces.

If you have a box in your closet, or somewhere in your home, that has clean personal hygiene products you're not using, the residents of Harrington House sure could use them. You can bring them by The Daily Triplicate and I'll take them with me on Thursdays to Teri McCune-Oostra, executive director of Rural Human Services, who is in my Rotary Club and collecting the items for the Harrington House. Or you can take them yourself to Rural Human Services, 286 M St., Crescent City.

Crescent City's history is rich with shining moments when this community stood together to lend a hand to someone who needed it. This isn't a huge project I'm talking about, just some bottles of shampoo, bars of soap, toothpaste, etc., but it will make a huge difference to the folks at Harrington House.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate's publisher, at mthomas @trip li cate .com, 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.