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Abreo, Louie succeed in Helping Hands

Helping Hands Hygiene Drive organizers Tinnie Louie, from left, and Michelle Abreo, along with friend and volunteer Alanna Robinson, inspect 'care packages' that they distributed at Manna House. (CONTRIBUTED)
Helping Hands Hygiene Drive organizers Tinnie Louie, from left, and Michelle Abreo, along with friend and volunteer Alanna Robinson, inspect ‘care packages’ that they distributed at Manna House. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Many people received basic but important essentials from the “Helping Hands Hygiene Drive,” organized by Michelle Abreo and Tinnie Louie.

Abreo and Louie, seniors at James Clemens High School, collected and distributed toiletries to clients at Manna House in Huntsville. Starting in May, Helping Hands ended on July 30 when they delivered the hygiene ‘care packages.’

“We exceeded our goal of 100 care packages. We had so many extra supplies left over to give to Manna House, like toilet paper and diapers,” Abreo said. “It was very rewarding to give back to the community. We had so much fun doing it.”

At Manna House, people lined up outside, walked through to receive food and then asked Abreo and Louie for specific toiletry items. “The people were extremely grateful to receive the supplies,” Louie said.

“When they asked us for shampoo or deodorant, we surprised them with the care package. Their eyes lit up when they saw the whole care package. They thanked us profusely,” Abreo said.

For women, Abreo and Louie packaged shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, razors, sanitary pads and lip balm. Men received most of these items, plus shaving cream. Children received similar, basic supplies.

“We made a total of 105 bags: 25 women’s, 25 men’s and 55 unisex/child’s,” Louie said.

Numerous businesses assisted Helping Hands. Apex Dental, Dental Associates of Madison and Alabama Pediatric Dental Associates donated needs for oral hygiene. Hotels like Holiday Inn Express, Country Inn & Suites and Best Western hotels donated shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion.

Target ($100), CVS ($50) and Kroger ($25) donated gift cards. Daisy Lane Gifts, Bento Box and Kaleidoscoops donated cash.

“One manager at Target, Anne, was extremely helpful,” Louie said. “She let us set up a donation booth in the break room and helped get lots of donations.”

Stevi B’s allowed a fundraising night. “We managed to raise $45 and $132 selling cards,” Abreo said. “Alanna Robinson, a fellow classmate and friend, helped us package bags and hand out at Manna House.”

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