Be the Cause

Houston: Help the Homeless Collection Drive

Love. Generosity. Hope. By Maushmi Savjani

“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Irish Proverb

Every single words of this beautiful quote rang true for me as I participated in the collection effort to benefit the Healthcare for the Homeless Houston (HHH) this holiday season. I may never meet those who poured their hearts out when presented with an opportunity to give and those who received these gifts, but I feel connected to everyone who somehow got to be a part of this wonderful happening.


It all started with the story called Music of a Stolen Symphony that I read on I was so touched by this story that I immediately started looking up volunteer opportunities to work with the homeless. I emailed Be the Cause Houston team and a couple of other friends. My friend Rohith who is a medical student at Baylor suggested volunteering with HHH. I knew about HHH and Dr. David Buck, M.D., the founder of HHH, has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I heard him speak at the Compassion and the Art of Medicine lecture at Baylor a couple of years ago. Inspired by his experience working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, Dr. Buck has worked tirelessly to develop medical and dental clinics for an indigent population in Houston. In 2001, he started HHH whose mission is to promote health, home and dignity for the Houston’s homeless through accessible and comprehensive care. This holiday season, it was our great fortune to have had the opportunity to participate in building healthy foundations for change in the lives of homeless men, women, and children with gifts that we collected through the toiletry drive. Below is the list of items we collected:

Much-needed Basics: White socks, new underwear (all sizes — men’s, women’s and children’s), feminine hygiene products, insect repellent with DEET, and bottled water.

Personal Hygiene Items: Soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, shampoo, combs, brushes, washcloths, hand/body lotion, tissues (small packets), and band aids.

As I was sorting the donations, I found several post-it notes that communicated the spirit of giving and I couldn’t help but notice that people give mindfully and with love. We collected all different sizes of socks and underwear for men, women and kids. A lot of the things we collected were family size…family size bottles of shampoos, lotions and soaps among other things. I also found a print-out of an email thread from a department at Baylor that contributed much toward our collection effort. This email printout along with the post-it notes is the sure evidence that many hands and hearts were at work all along.

There was a time, however, when I felt overwhelmed with the emails and phone calls from individuals wanting to donate and to make arrangements for donation pick-ups at various places, but many volunteers lended their support. They helped with picking up things, sorting them, loading them, unloading them, etc. No words can thank enough everyone who participated to help uplift the lives of and give hope to many of our brothers and sisters. It is through events like this that we realize that it is truly in the shelter of each other that we live, and I feel blessed to be a part of this service opportunity.

One comment

  • Wow, you all in Houston did a great deed. Hygene products are important not only to help these people get back into the flow (when it comes to going to job interviews, improved personal confidence, etc) it really does improve the quality of life for all people on the streets (including us that live in homes). Sometimes we take for granted the usefulness of little things like soap in preventing undo suffering.

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