By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY February 20, 2004 Its hard to go on a job interview when you havent showered in a week.
Its even harder to feel like getting out there and trying again when youre using your finger to rub some generic toothpaste across your back molars.
But the folks forging Sullivan Countys future say it doesnt have to be that way.
With 30 percent of Sullivan County residents on some sort of public assistance, the members of this years Chamber of Commerce Leadership Sullivan class are seeing a pattern emerge.
Folks lose their jobs. They go on public assistance and save what little money they are getting to put food on the table and buy diapers.
They opt for food, for things for their kids, what they say are the necessities, said Leadership Sullivan 2004 spokesperson Donna Karkos.
But with all the agencies providing food stamps and non-perishable goods, theres no one standing there with a bag full of shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toilet paper.
And to Karkos, those things are tantamount to a new start in life.
Overall it helps them get jobs, gives them a boost, helps them jumpstart something, she said.
The local businessmen and women participating in the chambers program traditionally take on a pet project. And this year is no different.
Leadership Sullivan 2004 is turning to its neighbors, friends and family members to help provide the Bare Necessities to those who really need it.
Folks are asked to buy an extra bottle of conditioner or throw another tube of toothpaste in their cart on their next shopping trip.
Those items can then be taken to any branch of The First National Bank of Jeffersonville or Hudson United Bank or to a Crystal Run Healthcare facility within the county.
From there, the members of the class will distribute all the products to the Sullivan County United Way, CACHE and food pantries scattered throughout the county to provide the biggest impact to the greatest number of people.
Karkos said the group is suggesting people purchase shampoos, deodorants and toothpaste, but they will accept anything along the Bare Necessities line.
Checks are also being accepted, made out to the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, attention Leadership Sullivan.
The tax-deductible donations will be used by the class to purchase more toiletries.
This is something everybody really needs its something everybody uses, Karkos noted. And if they get it, maybe theyll use it.
The drive will run from today through March 26.
For more information, call Karkos at 292-0082.