“First name, Salvation. Last name, Army,” said Capt. Angela Repass, of the Salvation Army of Aiken.
For the first time, the charity is using the wedding and housewarming registries at Target and at Bed Bath & Beyond stores to let potential donors know of needs at its homeless shelter on Park Avenue in Aiken.
On Thursday, it is asking donors to drop off supplies at a “shower” and tour the shelter.
The Salvation Army shelter houses 15 to 25 men, women and children a night and is in constant need of twin-size sheets, towels, laundry soap, cleaners, toiletries and other household supplies, Repass said.
“When people come in, they don’t have even the basics,” she said. “We don’t want them spending their money on personal hygiene items when they need to be saving for a place.”
Volunteers at the Salvation Army provide many of the supplies, but most items get used heavily and need far more frequent replacing or replenishing than most volunteers can provide.
“We need everything – pillows, deodorant, baby shampoo, you name it,” Repass said. Paper products are in high demand for the soup kitchen, which served 20,000 meals last year.
The registry also includes requests for stainless steel mixing bowls, dryer sheets with fabric softener, washcloths and shower curtains, along with 30 pillows, 16 sheet sets and 80 two-packs of deodorant.
The “Shower of Blessings,” as Repass calls it, aims to replenish the Salvation Army’s stock, but she also hopes it will introduce more people to the shelter.
“This is about raising awareness of the problem of homelessness in Aiken County and the services the Salvation Army provides,” she said.
For about five years, the concept has proved successful for at least one other Salvation Army chapter.
“A friend of mine from a women’s auxiliary in Fort Smith, Ark., does this event every year, and they have great response,” Repass said. “I said, ‘I like it. I’m stealing it.’ With it being the first year, it’s hard because we don’t know what turnout will be like, but we’re hopeful.”
The Fort Smith chapter called its fundraiser “Shelter Shower.”
“We decided to go with ‘Shower of Blessings’ because that’s what it is: a blessing to us for every gift we receive,” she said.