It’s been a mission of mine to compile tested, effective recipes for general household products. There’s lots of good ones all over the internet, but it can sometimes be quite a task to find them, gather the ingredients, test them out, and tweak them to your liking. And even then, sometimes the recipes aren’t good, are too complicated, just don’t work out, or aren’t worth all the work. My goal seems like convenience. I do the research, I do the testing, and I share the pros and cons of the recipes so that we all might benefit. But there’s another reason I do this. It’s kind of a long story, and it’s the reason I got started with all this in the first place.
It all started with the food pantry/food stamp system. My mother is the head volunteer for a local food pantry that gives distributions to qualifying families to bridge the gap between when their food stamp funds run out and when the next month’s funds begin. It’s more complicated than that (is anything ever simple?) but that’s the essence in a nutshell, at least for the food pantry my mom works at. It’s a pretty good program when paired with the food stamp program, but any state-funded food stamp program is for just that: food. The funds are only applicable to food items. That means qualifying families who participate in the program, while they receive funds for purchasing food, can’t buy any non-food items with these funds. And realistically, they don’t often (or ever) have extra money for items like toothpaste, laundry soap, cleaners, deodorant, shampoo, diapers, wipes, and other non-food items. Food pantries sometimes provide these things, but with increasing cuts, it’s become even harder just to meet the needs for only food. And all that other stuff is expensive.
So when I started playing around with making household products, my main goal was to primarily use edible ingredients. That way, someone participating in a food stamp program would be able to have easy access to things like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, or toothpaste and not have to choose between these items or go without them. And with easier access to the ingredients, recipes and products, the level of personal hygiene expected for job interviews or attending work is more attainable for low-income people and families.
So in short, I compiled and tested these recipes for the benefit of food pantry organizations and the people they provide for. But it’s not only for them. I use them all myself, I believe they are at least as good as or better than commercial products, they certainly contain less chemicals, and are all-around better for everyone involved. I use them to save money, to impact the environment less, and so that I’m exposed to less chemicals. But I also share them as an empowerment tool.
I realize that the people who need to access these materials the most are the least likely to have a computer or internet access. That means just posting them here is missing the people I’m most hoping will benefit.
With these things in mind, I’m asking for some help from my readers. If you’ve used any of these recipes, if you enjoy even one of them, share them with your local food pantry. Even if you don’t have a relationship with them, even if you’ve nervous about where to take them, how they will react, or if they’re interested. Mail them in. Send an email. Drop off an anonymous packet. Just print them off and do it. You have no idea the kind of impact it will have.
To make it even easier, I have a handy word document where I’ve already cut and pasted the recipes all into easy to print recipe-sized cards, four to a page. I’d be happy to send it to you to distribute, if it would make the difference between doing it and not doing it. Just drop me a line in the comments. And if you’re interested, share your experiences in the comments. What food pantry did you take recipes to? How did they react? Do they already have a program like this in place?
Also, I’m running out of ideas for what to experiment with next. Is there something you wish I’d experiment with? What recipes do you like? What have you tweaked about any of the ones I’ve shared? Let’s improve them together.