Beauty Banks providing toiletries to those in need

Published: Dec. 25, 2018 at 3:42 PM EST
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Sandra Colie came to London two years ago after fleeing violence in the Congo.

''I was depressed, and I felt dirty. I couldn't take care of myself,'' she said.

She arrived with just the clothes on her back and couldn't afford soap or shampoo, but a few miles away, women were about to intervene.

''We could take unwanted toiletries, and we could match them up with people who desperately needed them. and there are millions of people who desperately need them," said Sali Hughes, the founder of Beauty Banks.

Beauty Banks is a group run by volunteers, with donations providing free hygiene and beauty products to women like Colie.

''We need to stay clean for our dignity, for our self-respect, for our employability.''

Colie agrees, saying her first Beauty Banks package made her feel human again.

''Now you can come through. You can hug me, I smell nice!'' she said.

What started as a social media post asking for unused makeup has turned into an explosion of toothpaste, lip gloss and eyeshadow.

Each week, founder Jo Jones spends hours packing boxes of supplies.

"We have a list of about 130 charities," said Jones.

Beauty Banks is less than a year old and is already improving the lives of thousands.

"Firstly, they give love and then the product,'' said Colie.