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This tiny care bank in New West offers personal care items for free

The owner of New Westminster's Good Omen, Lia Hood, has set up a care bank outside her store to make sure that everyone in the community has access to basic personal care products.
Personal Care Bank at Good Omen
The Personal Care Bank outside Good Omen store is stocked with products such as soaps, shampoos, sunscreens and more.

Since mid-August, a white box filled with personal care products has been set up outside the Good Omen store for anyone to open and pick what they need, for free.

The box and its contents target those "who may be experiencing a barrier to accessing personal care items,” as per Lia Hood, owner of Good Omen.

Called the ‘Personal Care Bank’, the little box with bright orange flowers painted on the outside (by Vancouver-based artist Emily Cheung), has remained fully stocked with three to five items of each category of products including “shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, dental care, soap, body wash and wipes, hair care, menstrual products, sun screen, naloxone, and more.” 

Even before coming up with this project, Hood had been giving away personal care products to community members on her own, “in a smaller way.” Creating a care bank attached to her store was a way of expanding her contribution to the community. 

“I was inspired by similar mutual-aid projects such as The Personal Care Bank in the Toronto area (who helped us get started) and other local Vancouver area community fridge and pantry projects,” she said.

So, how does it work?

Every day, during the store’s opening hours, between 12 noon and 5 p.m., the care bank is available for anyone to pick what they need. 

“Word has been spreading about the care bank since it was launched and we are excited to see that people have been coming by to access it more frequently,” said Hood.

It has remained fully stocked ever since it was started — thanks to “large amounts of donations from our customers and the New West community,” Hood said.

In fact, there are more items than what’s displayed in the cabinet. “So if someone needs additional items or more, we are happy to help them,” she added.

Those who want to donate can drop off new and unused items at the store — these will then be stocked in the care bank as and when necessary. 

Donate to Personal Care Bank at Good Omen, located on 34 Sixth St., it’s open between 12 noon and 5 p.m. everyday.

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