Unilever, Bishop Noll donate 5,000 hygiene kits

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October 07, 2014 – Joseph S. Pete

Unilever employees and Bishop Noll Institute students teamed up Tuesday to assemble 5,000 hygiene kits for local and national charities.

They donated kits to St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home in East Chicago, a safe haven for children in crisis, and the Sojourner Truth House in Gary, which helps serve homeless women and children. The event was staged in conjunction with Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15, to raise awareness about how regular handwashing prevents the spread of viruses and other diseases.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to help out the community,” said Tom Wedryk, the safety, health and environmental engineer at Unilever. “It’s a great chance for Unilever to be involved in the community and to give back.”

Unilever has donated more than a million pounds of soap to Clean the World Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to prevent millions of deaths worldwide caused by hygiene-related illness by collecting and recycling soap and bottled hygiene products discarded by hotels.

Unilever’s Hammond plant at Calumet Avenue and Indianapolis Boulevard, which makes Dove, Caress and Lever 2000, made some of raw soap that Clean the World melted down and repressed so the bars had its logo.

“Clean the World was looking for some donations for their humanitarian projects,” Wedryk said. “Unilever had an opportunity where they were using some recycled soap and Clean the World was a great fit. It helped our cause and it worked out to help unfortunates so we’re really happy to partner with them.”

About 20 volunteers from the Unilever Hammond factory helped assemble tables and packing stations, and ship the finished kits off. About 90 students stuffed bars of soap, small shampoos and other toiletries into the kits while Bishop Noll President Paul Mullaney motivated them with a stopwatch.

“It’s a privilege to work with Unilever,” Mullaney said. “They are a very eco-friendly company — we are aware of that. We know how they operate their plant and how they discard their waste and we’re proud to partner with them on this.”

Bishop Noll also was honored to support local charities that are close and dear to them, Mullaney said.

“A thousand of these kits are going to go to the Carmelite Home in East Chicago, and the terrific work the sisters do over there,” he said. “And a thousand kits are going to the Sojourner Truth House in Gary. It’s special to us because of the work they do and because they were founded by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, which was the same religious order that founded Bishop Noll in 1921. It’s a great experience and exercise for our students to contribute to something that makes a difference, and that’s kind of what we’re all about.”