KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Basic necessities, like laundry soap and toilet paper, are actually a luxury for thousands of people in Kansas City.
Giving the Basics, which was started by Teresa Hamilton of Kansas City, is a local nonprofit that helps bridge the gap for those in need.
"I got a phone call from a friend that I had known for years and she said, 'Can you help me buy toilet paper?" Hamilton said when asked about the inspiration for founding Giving the Basics. "She was on government assistance, she had been through a divorce and had six kids to raise."
Hamilton said she and her husband helped her friend for almost a year until she got a job, but she knew she wanted to help more people in tough situations.
"There was just this paralyzing feeling — 'There are others; there are more' — and I thought, 'I don't know where to start, but I'll make phone calls,'" Hamilton said. "From there, it bloomed into an incredible organization with over 300 distribution sites across KC."
Recently, Giving the Basics received a $1 million donation and, because of the need for more space spurred by the nonprofit's exponential growth, will move into a warehouse this week.
"On a monthly basis, we have over 200,000 people that we serve a month," Hamilton said. "SO, we would fill Chiefs Stadium three times with the amount of people that we make hygiene accessible to."
The generous gift ensures that mission will continue well into the future.
Giving the Basics conducted its first 5K on Sunday and hoped to raise $20,000, which "could help us purchase a semi of toilet paper," Hamilton said.
It may not seem like an overwhelming amount of money, but it can bring an enormous amount of reassurance to people in shaky circumstances.
"When we get $20,000, it's about 90,000 rolls of toilet paper," she said.
Organizers also hope to get 5K runners inspired to help join the Giving the Basics mission.
"We are the first and only organization of our kind in our nation," said Director of Internal Operations for Giving the Basics Holly Bisbee. "This need is in every single city. Right now, we are only serving KC, but we are hoping they spread the word, enlighten the country, and then we can open pilots in every city around our nation."