Hygiene Kits Restore Hope at the US Mexico Border

“I notice that you purchase and give the hygiene products with love, and when someone gives things with love, they will receive much,” Alma said, opening her hygiene kit bag. Alma, whose name means soul in English, has deep experience in the transformative power of love. Back home in Honduras, she suffered an act of violence which resulted in her becoming a mother when she was only 12 years old. But she didn’t let violence break her spirit. Instead, Alma held onto and deepened her resilience.

Alma has worked since she was eight years old in Honduras’s predominantly agricultural and informal economy. Life is difficult in Honduras, where three out of four people live below the poverty line. Alma wants what every parent wants: a better life for her child and family. She made the heartbreaking decision to leave her child, her community, everything she knows, and make her way to Ciudad Juarez. Against all odds and fueled by her love for her child, she crossed the vast expanse of Mexico to reach Ciudad Juarez and a local shelter we support. Holding on to her dream of reaching Florida and finding a better job, she waits for an appointment on the CBP One app while family members care for her now fourteen-year-old back home. 

Alma displays products from her hygiene kit. Photo by Esbeydi Arias.

“Thanks for making this possible. I feel grateful because I have been without these products for a long time,” Alma smiled, removing a bar of soap from the reusable, lightweight backpack. Thanks to your generosity, Alma’s hygiene kit contains shampoo, body cream, toothpaste, a toothbrush, razors, feminine products, nail clippers, and Wet Wipes. But for Alma, these kits contain so much more. “Thanks for restoring a little bit of dignity and letting us feel the warmth of your kindness,” Alma said, her eyes reflecting a mixture of hope and determination. She wants to work hard at a good job and send money back to her family.

Thanks to you, we’ve assembled 200 hygiene kits just like Alma’s, a small gesture of compassion for vulnerable people on a challenging journey. We distributed almost half of them at the shelter where Alma is staying, and we’ll be handing out the rest next week at two more places we support. 

People might wonder why we do the work we do the way we do it. Alma is our why. We want Alma and others struggling to find safety to feel supported. We want to reaffirm their dignity. We want to give them a sense of belonging. What you provided was more than a hygiene kit; it was an acknowledgment that her journey was understood and her sacrifices were respected.

Alma reminds us that the human spirit is resilient. As Alma holds onto her hygiene kit, she also holds onto her dreams, ready to embark on a new chapter of life and continue her journey forward. She embodies how we belong to each other, especially when we sacrifice for those we love.