Crisis Center collects donations for toilet paper drive

The Crisis Center of Johnson County is collecting donations for their annual toilet paper drive in an effort to provide non-essential items to families in need.


Katie Goodale

Carly Matthew, Communications Coordinator for the Johnson County Crisis Center, speaks with members of the media in the Johnson County Crisis Center in Iowa City on Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018. The Crisis Center will giving away one free roll of toilet paper to every family that stops at the center throughout the month of October.

Katie Ann McCarver, News Reporter

The Crisis Center of Johnson County is collecting donations for its annual “TP the Crisis Center” toilet-paper drive with the support of local business, the power of 250 volunteers, and the incentive to aid families in need.

Although the Crisis Center provides many nonperishable foods to its clients for free, toilet paper is not available except by donation. “TP the Crisis Center” seeks to encourage more donations by the Johnson County community.

“Food stamps don’t cover toilet paper and other nonessential items,” Crisis Center communications coordinator Carly Matthew said. “We try to raise awareness for this drive to let people know that these items are not a given for the population we’re serving.”

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Matthew said the ultimate goal of the “TP the Crisis Center” is to provide at least one free roll of toilet paper for all Crisis Center clients who regularly use the Food Bank.

“We see a lot of participation. People get really excited about it,” Matthew said. “Volunteers do all kinds of things, from stocking shelves to cleaning up at the end of the night.”

Each roll of toilet paper in a 32-pack is individually wrapped and weighed to record the number of donations made each year, Matthew said.

“We always accept other items, even though this drive is focused on toilet paper,” she said. “Anything that can be used up, such as paper plates, shampoos, tampons, diapers, napkins … whatever you can think of.”

As the Food Bank’s client population grows, Matthew said, the Crisis Center would like to see the toilet-paper drive and its donations grow accordingly.

“We know that 15 percent of our population here in Johnson County is food insecure, which means they are probably skipping out on certain items like toilet paper,” Matthew said. “We’re here to make sure everyone is getting all of their needs met.”

Community involvement includes donations from local business, law firms, service organizations, churches, and schools.

Hoefer Law Firm is participating for a second year in a row in making donations to the Crisis Center. This year, though, the firm is acting as an additional drop site for packs of toilet paper. 

“We have a box located in the lobby for clients to see when they walk in,” senior paralegal Margaret Henderson said. “There’s also a GoFundMe page for people who may not be local.”

Henderson said that, as a volunteer, she has noted a lack of toilet paper available on the shelves of the Food Bank. However, during the month of October, she said, it’s wonderful to see the toilet paper.

“It’s really important, and I hope there’s more exposure to the need,” Henderson said. “I think that there’s a divide in our community we need to work on shoring up.”

Also in her second year of participation with the TP the Crisis Center movement, Girl Scout Troop 2003 Leader Melissa Clark said the event provides an exciting opportunity for community service among her girls.

In addition to collecting donations from friends, family and door-to-door soliciting, Troop 2003 encourages donations from customers outside Hy-Vee.

“Last year, we collected 400 pounds of toilet paper,” Clark said. “The girls get such a big kick about bringing in their donations and having that chance to be proud of making a difference.”