lifestyle

Pinchapoo wants you to steal hotel toiletries. For a good cause, obviously.

If you had one minute to leave your house for good, what would you take?

My answer that night was – surprisingly – my toothbrush. In that moment of panic I wasn’t sure what the next five minutes of my life would bring. But I did know that where ever I ran, I could wipe away the tears and at least brush my teeth.

Kate grabbed the toothbrush first
Photos? Clothes? No, the toothbrush first!

The next day, in the same clothes and underwear from the day before, burning mascara-blurred eyes and a broken spirit – I stared into my portable classroom wall wondering, what now? The adrenaline had worn into shock. Where could I go? Who could I trust? Who would help me? I had no answers to what seemed like logical questions. The only thing that made sense was the overwhelming urge for a hot shower, some deodorant and some makeup to feel human again.
As it turned out, my spirit wasn’t broken. I refused to let that period in my life be an excuse to fail. It made me wonder how many other people faced similar situations. I pondered how I could make a difference to their lives – just as that toothbrush had made a difference to mine. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I had ‘that’ lightning bolt moment. I always dreamed such moments would happen while drinking tea with Himalayans at the top of a mountain I had spent all day climbing. But no. Ironically, it happened in the shower.

I was using a mini shampoo I picked up from a hotel on a recent getaway. I wondered, who else secretly ‘pinches’’ these toiletries? Who could use these hygiene essentials? With 20,000 people currently homeless in Victoria alone, I realised it was potentially thousands of people daily.
What if I got a few friends to collect their toiletries while travelling and we donated them to someone who supports victims of domestic abuse and homelessness? So I told a few friends, their friends told their friends and Facebook helped us tell loads more.

ADVERTISEMENT
image via Kate Austin
Kate Austin, founder of Pinchapoo.

Sometimes your greatest moment of heartache is the one that defines your destiny. The day I picked up that toothbrush was the day Pinchapoo was born.
Pinchapoo….Cheeky, right? It is a simple concept. ‘Pinch’ a shampoo and pass it on.
Our Melbourne-based organisation has now been operating for 6 years with over 250,000 toiletry products donated to those disadvantaged and most vulnerable in our community. We proudly work with the Salvation Army, Vincent Care, Wesley Mission, Cottage by the Sea, Safe Futures and Carevan just to name a few. Providing support can mean anything from crisis relief packs for bush fire and flood victims, sanitary items for women sleeping rough, essential items for those escaping domestic abuse situations or pamper hampers for mothers with terminally sick children.

image via Kate Austin

ADVERTISEMENT

Passing on some soap for a shower is a simple gesture, but it means much more. It’s about the power of a new beginning, re-gaining self-esteem, honouring the basic human right to physical and mental well-being, and building foundations of trust and self-worth.
“Essentials are highly appreciated and the first opportunity for many men to begin a new chapter of self- care” says VincentCare Ozanam House case worker. “It is truly comforting for them to have a warm shower and the basic toiletries that go with it.”
Pinchapoo also seeks to help those who face temporary hardships. Once an older woman presented to VincentCare Community Centre after having her purse stolen. The purse contained her Aged Pension Card and without any savings, staff were able to give her some toiletries to get her through to her next pension payment.

Are you secretly a poo pincher? To learn more, to donate hygiene essentials, or if your business can support us in another way – visit us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Pinchapoo

image via Kate Austin
On behalf of the Pinchapoo team, I sincerely thank the Mamamia community for celebrating, supporting and promoting great Australian causes. Together we can make a huge difference.

This post was written by Pinchapoo founder, Kate Austin. Pinchapoo are currently putting the finishing touches on their fancy new website, but you can connect with them via their Facebook page.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???