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Helps those who cannot buy personal products
by: Gus Jarvis Linda Bagg (left) and Judy Brown hold a bag containing items families in need cannot purchase with food stamps.

Baby diapers, toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo and toilet paper. These simple yet important items are things all families use on a day-to-day basis. But for families in need, those items may be out of reach as they are unable to purchase them with food stamps.

As part of the St. Aloysius and St. Vincent de Paul Community Food Basket Program in Estacada, volunteers Judy Brown and Linda Bagg have organized the Brown-Bagg Project to collect these items to distribute to the nearly 150 families receiving food boxes from the church on the first and third Tuesday of every month. Brown and Bagg have set up a drop-off location at 297 N. Broadway St. in Estacada (look for the blue barrel under the carport) where anyone with extra toilet paper, soap, paper products, feminine products, detergent, cleaning products, and other similar items can drop them off.

According to the duo, this isn't the first time they have set up the project to collect and distribute personal and household items for those in need. It was during a holiday food drive 15 years ago the two started the Brown-Bagg project.

'During the Christmas season, for I don't know how many years, we passed out brown bags with this little notice on it telling people what is needed,' Bagg said. 'I don't know how people can live without toilet paper and hand soap.'

Fast-forward to August 2010: Brown decided to close her successful business and decided she had some more time on her hands to help others in need.

'I called Linda and asked her if she wanted to revive the Brown-Bagg project,' Brown said. 'We both decided it had such a positive influence on people's lives, so we got it together. Now technology is even better, and we are emailing this form and passing these (fliers) out to get the word out. It can be such a small thing for people going to the store to pick up an extra roll of paper towels.'

'People who travel a lot and receive all those little hotel shampoos, hand creams and bars of soap can drop all of them off in the blue barrel,' Bagg said, adding that she had heard of an epidemic of diaper rash going around lately because families are forced to reuse diapers. 'I told a friend about the diapers and she already told us to go and purchase $250 worth of diapers. We have already had some very generous donations. This is such a caring community.'

The two both wanted to send out a special thank-you to Thriftway store director Mike Schuh for all his help in providing brown bags for the project.

For more information on the Brown-Bagg project, call 503-318-5932 or 503-709-1406. Canned food items are also welcomed and appreciated as well.

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