Founded in 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales, In Kind Direct distributes new, usable consumer products, donated by some of the UK’s best known manufacturers and retailers, to UK charities and not-for-profit organisations working in the UK and abroad.
We regularly receive case studies from the charities in our network. They are keen to demonstrate the impact made by the products we send them – for both the charities themselves and their beneficiaries. Some of the stories we receive are especially profound and show the true impact and deeper meaning of product giving to those in need.
Baron’s Court Project regularly orders toiletries and cleaning products from In Kind Direct for their beneficiaries, who include rough sleepers. They told us about the journey one beneficiary took from engaging with the charity to getting off the streets. This man moved into a new flat and was struggling to buy food and pay for heating. When asked what difference the toiletries and cleaning products had made, he smiled and said:
“I don’t mind wearing second hand clothes. I just wash them first. I won’t mind sleeping in a second hand bed when I can just wash the sheets, and I am really happy to be off the streets and have a shower and toilet of my own. Being able to clean the bathroom, made it mine.”
Product giving truly does have the power to transform lives. After being given toiletries and some cleaning products, this man’s life was completely turned around. It’s not just their practical use – the use we all assume we know about – but how these products impact the everyday reality of someone who has been living without access to washing powder, cleaning products, shampoo or shower gel. He has a home again. He is clean and healthy. His dignity is restored. His self-esteem is boosted – all thanks to a few everyday consumer products that the majority of us take for granted.
Oasis Partnership is a small charity that provides support to people experiencing problems with their own or someone else’s drug or alcohol use. They recently extended their recovery programmes to help homeless people on the street. Their CEO, Colin McGregor-Paterson, explained:
“We started ordering dog food from In Kind Direct and had a creative plan to use it. Rough sleepers are often very suspicious of authorities and we had to work out how to get them into our centres, and signed up to our drug/alcohol programmes. Dog food was the incentive.”
The charity offered rough sleepers a week’s supply of dog food. Giving out a weekly supply ensured that they would have to come back regularly for more. Each time they returned, Oasis was able to build on the relationship; mainly by getting volunteers who had experienced homelessness themselves to talk to them. Over time, they came to trust the staff at Oasis, and this programme helped many on the first step towards getting into employment and secure housing. One rough sleeper and his dog who have now been housed, is doing well in his recovery. He is looking at gaining employment sometime soon, and his dog seems very happy. And all thanks to a can of dog food!
This is the kind of story that we hear every day at In Kind Direct. You might not expect that a humble can of dog food can make such an impact. We are inspired every day to help more charities and the people they support. It’s essential that we meet their critical needs. We want to continue transforming more lives because we know the products we distribute really can do this.