Basic personal hygiene items, donated at a Downtown Long Beach business, could make a huge difference in someone’s life. That is the main driver of the 2022 Fresh Start Campaign, launched by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) in partnership with three nonprofit service providers. The program enables the community to donate online or through twenty-five Downtown participating businesses  — twice as many as last year.

Businesses are hosting Fresh Start donation boxes with the hopes of collecting large quantities of personal care essentials. “Anything that can connect people with those in need is good,” said participant Bob Benaderet, better known in Downtown as Bob the Chiropractor at 416 East Broadway.

One can also donate online, through Amazon or Costco. Click here to learn more details and make a donation easily.

Michael Kim, who owns Sushi Zen Maru at 454 Pine Avenue, encourages his clientele to bring donations. “We are hoping to collect lots of soap, shampoo, bath towels, and other basic hygiene items from now through June 24 when the Fresh Start Campaign ends,” he said.

Every night in Long Beach, about 1,900 individuals experience homelessness. “In Downtown, we remain focused on connecting our unhoused neighbors with organizations that provide extensive support including basic amenities like hot showers and access to a broad range of health services,” said Broc Coward, DLBA’s Chief Operating Officer. “One of our goals this year is to exceed last year’s inaugural Fresh Start campaign results when members of the community responded graciously by donating 2,300 essential items to providers.”

The three service providers partnering with DLBA in the Fresh Start Campaign are Mental Health America of Los Angeles, the Long Beach Rescue Mission, and U.S VETS — LONG BEACH.

“We are pleased to partner with DLBA on Fresh Start to help our unhoused neighbors in Downtown Long Beach. The program aligns with our goal of providing care and services to individuals experiencing mental health challenges, trauma and poverty,” said Dr. Christina Miller, President and CEO, Mental Health America of Los Angeles. “The external environment over the past two years has challenged everyone’s mental health. Collaborations like this that connect people in our community really make a difference as we manage through what has been both a physical and a mental health pandemic.”

The Fresh Start Campaign also aligns with the recently updated DLBA Strategic Plan to further address the needs of the unhoused population in Downtown. This includes plans to create a new Homeless Outreach component in its PBID renewal by adding an experienced caseworker who can provide more robust assistance to unhoused individuals in the district, collaborating with social service agencies, nonprofits and City of Long Beach departments.

Please consider donating online or taking a handful of personal hygiene items on your next trip Downtown (see Donation Drop Box Locations). “Having worked in community outreach during my college days, I saw the difference in people after something as simple as a nice shower,” said Benaderet. “Donating some basic hygiene items can give people a sense of a new beginning.”