A toiletries drive aimed at raising awareness of hygiene poverty in New Zealand has gathered thousands of dollars worth of products.

The Soap for Society drive, addressing the need to reclaim dignity for those who can't afford things such as soap, moisturiser and sanitary items, brought in more than 100 boxes and crates of items over a week.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," said Wellington blogger Lucy Revill, who started Soap for Society.

READ MORE: Wellington toiletries drive aims to reclaim dignity


"So many people were just like 'I love it, I get it, how can I help? How can I do something similar and really, completely embrace it?'"

The drive ran in Wellington for a week last month, with people being invited to donate unused hygiene products and cosmetics to the Wellington City Mission.

More than $1500 has also been raised.

"I've never ever done anything where it's been embraced as much as Soap for Society," Revill said.

"It's not just been talk. I think that's the biggest thing, which is so heartening and encouraging when you can get really depressed about the state of the world, which is: good people are looking for something good to do for others."

Feeling and looking clean made a big difference to how people felt about themselves, but for some people it came down to a choice between those products, or food for their family, or petrol to get to work.

The understanding of wanting to be clean resonated with people, Revill said.

"Everybody had an emotional connection to that feeling of being clean, and that feeling of how good you can feel when you just brush your teeth in the morning."


City mission social worker Olivia Lange said there were a broad range of products donated - from sanitary items and makeup to moisturisers, toilet paper, and toothbrushes.

Some people had donated high-end makeup products, which would be an exciting gift for some of the teenage girls involved in the city mission's youth programmes.

"That will be quite special for them because that's a quality of product they wouldn't normally receive."

She said the collection of products would likely last the city mission until Christmas.

While some items might seem like luxuries, things such as moisturiser could prevent skin breakage, which could lead to infections for people.

"It really lifts your dignity actually, to have those basic items that every other person in the community is able to access," Lange said ahead of the drive.

While the drive is now over, people can continue to donate to their local charities.

What to donate

• Sanitary items

• Razors

• Shaving foam

• Deodorants

• Shampoo and conditioner

• Body wash

• Toothpaste

• Travel sized products are important for people without permanent homes

• Anything else will be gratefully received, including combs, hair bands, face wipes, sunscreen, and make-up products.