A York University undergraduate student and his team at Hygiene for the Homeless are helping Toronto community members in need this holiday season by distributing hygiene kits and gifts at an upcoming donation drive.
Keshav Pabbi, a second-year student pursuing an honour’s BA in psychology at York, is part of the executive team at the Toronto Branch of Hygiene for the Homeless Canada, a national student-run non-profit that gives hygiene kits to people experiencing homelessness and low-income residents in need.
On Dec. 22, Hygiene for the Homeless Toronto is holding a holiday drive at Covenant House in Toronto and Youth Without Shelter in Etobicoke. In addition to distributing hygiene kits, the team will be spreading holiday cheer by giving small gifts to children.
Hygiene kits contain essential items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, deodorant, body wash, razors and feminine products. Each kit also includes one reusable face mask and hand sanitizer to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Hygiene for the Homeless Canada was started by a group of high school students in Vancouver in 2016, and has since expanded to branches in London and Toronto. Since its inception, the organization has distributed over 2,500 hygiene kits and helped more than 13,000 people and communities in need.
Pabbi joined Hygiene for the Homeless after being approached by his friend Sameer Madan, a second-year Western University student who founded the Toronto Branch and serves as president.
“We’ve both always had a passion for giving back to the community,” says Pabbi, co-director of recruitment at Hygiene for the Homeless Toronto. “When he came to me with this opportunity to help the less fortunate in our community, there was no way I could deny it.”
After launching in April 2020, the Hygiene for the Homeless Toronto team held their first donation drive in August, where they distributed about 50 hygiene kits at a Toronto Community Housing location in Weston Rexdale.
“Starting up as a small non-profit and creating an immense impact during a global pandemic was one of the most humbling experiences of my life,” says Pabbi.
The team currently has over 280 hygiene kits assembled for the holiday drive, and is still accepting monetary donations until 9 p.m. on Dec. 21.
You can donate to the Hygiene for the Homeless Toronto Branch Holiday Drive through the team’s Go Fund Me page.