It’s meant to be the most wonderful time of the year – but for those struggling with financial hardship, Christmas can be the hardest time.

Even before coronavirus hit, thousands of people were at breaking point, with one in five people in the UK living in poverty.

Those locked in poverty, or experiencing times of crisis like job loss, are having to choose between heat and light in their home, or choose between paying their rent, eating or keeping clean. As we move into winter, there are many who simply cannot afford the products they need to stay clean, safe and well.  

But, thanks to The Hygiene Bank, there is a way you can help struggling families this Christmas.

The Hygiene Bank is a UK-wide charity which provides basic, essential personal and household hygiene products to individuals and families who cannot afford them.

You can take part in their Christmas appeal #ITSINTHEBAG to help tackle hygiene poverty in the UK – and it’s really simple to get involved.

In the run-up to Christmas, the charity is asking individuals and businesses to donate £15 to buy a bag filled with essential toiletry products, along with a luxury item or two and a thoughtful Christmas card.

In December, the bags will be sent to The Hygiene Bank’s projects around the UK and Ireland to distribute to its local community partners in time for Christmas.

Earlier this year , Metro.co.uk staff and readers raised more than £60,000 for The Hygiene Bank’s Lifeline campaign, and now we have a chance to make a difference again.

How it works

1. Donate £15 through The Hygiene Bank’s ITSINTHEBAG JustGiving page or TEXT IITB to 70085. 

2. Your donation will buy a reusable tote bag filled with essential hygiene products, a luxury item or two and a thoughtful Christmas card from The Hygiene Bank for a man, woman or child.

3. Thanks to your donation, this bag will be sent to one of The Hygiene Bank’s projects and gifted to someone in crisis this Christmas.

Sadly, the number of people living in poverty is expected to rise as jobs are at risk of being cut with the government’s furlough scheme winding down. According to Save the Children, 60% of families on Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits have gone further into debt since August.

‘Those who don’t have the means to access hygiene products can be held back from fully participating and contributing to society,’ says Lizzy Hall, founder of The Hygiene Bank.

‘It can lead to a crippling lack of confidence and leave those affected feeling isolated, excluded, shamed, bullied or humiliated.

‘Christmas time can be especially stressful, that’s why we started our #ITSINTHEBAG appeal to help those struggling to afford the basics by providing a gift of products they may otherwise go without. Help us by making a donation and give the gift of clean this Christmas.’

The Hygiene Bank’s ambition is that everyone in society will have access to the essential products needed to feel clean, confident and healthy. They believe that this Christmas all of us, not some of us, should be able to stay clean.

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