By Marisa Bernens, senior, Howard Payne University
BROWNWOOD — Two freshmen girls at Howard Payne University did not shower for six days in mid-January. It was not because they were lazy, but rather it was specifically to raise money for a relief effort for Haiti after hearing about the aftereffects of the 7.0 earthquake that hit on Jan. 12.
On Saturday morning, Jan. 16, HPU freshmen Darrah Blackwater and Caidon George were watching the news coverage on Haiti when they had an idea.
“We had not showered yet and we were watching news about Haiti and brainstorming about what we could do to help,” Blackwater said. “We thought that our worlds are a little brighter after we shower, so we researched and found out about KLENZ towels.”
KLENZ towels are 2’x4’ wet towels that provide the benefit of a shower when water is not available. According to the KLENZ website, “The KLENZ XXL Shower in a Towel was conceived and designed by a U.S. military serviceman who, while on a tour of duty, realized the need for a pre-moistened towel that was large enough, and durable enough, to provide a full-body cleaning.”
The two planned on raising $2,000 for the towels which cost $2 each and, for as long as it took, the girls would not take showers in a stand of empathy for the Haitians.
“Not showering is something tangible that we could do to help, along with inspiring others to give to the cause,” Blackwater said in the midst of their project.
“Both of us wanted to do something for Haiti, so we got posters and our friend Jeremy Glover created a Facebook group for us,” George said, “Everything came together very smoothly.”
The plan the two students had was to ask for donations from those who passed in front of Howard Payne’s cafeteria. They named their effort “Hygiene for Haitians.”
On Sunday, Jan. 17, they set up a table and began collecting donations. That same evening, George went back to her church in her hometown of Glen Rose where word of the project she and Blackwater had created was already spreading.
Through word of mouth and their efforts outside the cafeteria at Howard Payne, the two students had raised $231 on the first day and had recruited a group of additional students who also decided not to shower. By the second day, Monday, they had raised $545.45 and at the end of day three they had raised what Blackwater thought was an extraordinary amount.
“$777.77,” she said, “It’s a God thing, obviously. Thanks to all for money and continued support for H4H,” Blackwater wrote in a message Tuesday evening to the Hygiene for Haitians Facebook group.
The students had reached $1,000 on Wednesday, which was half of their goal. Thursday they had raised approximately another $500 setting their total at $1,584.14. Soon after on Friday evening, six days after they had first had the idea to help the Haitians, the two girls celebrated with showers of reaching their goal with $2,032.18.
With the money the girls collected, they were able to send money to Operation Assist Haiti, a campaign launched by Rozlaw, LLC that would purchase 1,000 KLENZ towels for Haitians in need.
Although the two HPU students met their personal goal, they did not plan on stopping there. KLENZ had their own goal of sending one million towels to Haiti by Feb. 5 and George and Blackwater wanted to help in this effort.
“Yes, we accomplished our goal, but Haiti still needs our prayers and support,” George wrote, “We are still accepting donations through the H4H fundraiser.”
Although it may have been difficult for two young students, and girls at that, to not shower for an entire six days, they were determined to reach their goal, even it meant being a little dirty.