Hotel toiletry samples find a new home for children in need

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About five years ago I started traveling with the regularity of an airline pilot - actually sometimes I think I spend more time on the road than a pilot or a truck driver… such is the life of an entrepreneur.

There are a lot of great things that I have learned from my travels. I can tell you where all the secret Delta Airlines bag drops are in many US airports and I know where all the best airport sushi bars are for sure.

One of the most interesting things I've discovered during my travels actually involves those little toiletries samples that most hotels provide for their guests "free of charge". Now when I say, "free of charge", please know that I say that with a heavy tone of sarcasm in my voice. When you are paying $300 a night plus $8,000 a night in incomprehensible hotel and city taxes to rent a match box sized room in New York City, shampoo and lotion samples seem like a small token of appreciation. I discovered that if you use any portion of those samples during your stay, the housekeepers would promptly provide you with another set of samples. Hmmm… this had me thinking.

It seemed to me that someone else might be able to benefit from all of those little samples. So, I started collecting these samples and storing them in a shopping bag in my linen closet. It didn't take all that long for me to fill a shopping bag with all varieties of soap, shampoo and lotion.

Now what to do with all of these samples? I have to admit, I'm rather picky about what kind of shampoo and conditioner I use on my hair - probably because I also spend crazy time and money to keep my hair all kinds of crazy colors that aren't gray. During this time I happened to be volunteering with a fabulous organization here in the Twin Cities called Free Arts Minnesota. Free Arts pairs up kids in at risk and shelter situations with adult mentors to simply do art. The end goal is to provide an outlet for these kids to express themselves as well as provide access to adults who are willing to be examples and friends to these kids. I happened to be working with a group of teens who were living in an inner-city facility called St. Joseph's Home for Children. St. Joe's is often the first drop off point for kids whose parents or guardians have been arrested or killed. Sorry to be so shocking, but this happens more frequently than any of us likes to admit. These kids are often in shock and are brought in with the clothes on their backs. 

While I was talking with one of the facility managers, she said that these kids are often scared, hungry and dirty when they arrive and she wished that St. Joe's could afford to provide these kids with some sort of bathroom kit, so that they could at least feel like they had something of their own and take a little comfort in getting clean.

Ding, ding, ding! It the perfect answer to my, "what should I do with these samples?" question. I brought the shopping bag of samples in the next evening and gave them to the facility manager. She had tears in her eyes and thanked me profusely for taking the time and for thinking of the kids.

What a great win for everyone and what a seriously simple thing to do. I know that a lot of our Urban Junket followers are big travelers. Since we make laptop bags, handbags and travel gear, it only makes sense. I would love to encourage all of you travelers out there to collect your hotel toiletry samples and find a shelter in your city to gift them to. If you can't find one in your town, please send your samples to us and we'll make sure that they get to St. Joe's.

Happy Travels!


Have any hotel toiletry samples you'd like donate to St. Joe's? Please mail them to us and we'll drop them off!
Urban Junket
6981 Oxford Street
Minneapolis, MN 55426

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