RICHMOND, Ind. — When Senior Opportunities Services homemakers visit seniors and disabled residents, they sometimes discover a lack of cleaning supplies and/or personal care products.

Their fixed incomes and high medical expenses can make it tough to afford other necessities.

Or, if they’re homebound, residents might not be able to buy items when they’re needed.

Thus, SOS offers a soap pantry to help those 55 and older and the disabled live independently with dignity.

However, SOS can’t afford to buy the items, so community donations are needed.

Items needed for the SOS soap pantry include toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, shampoo, bar soap, liquid hand soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, men’s and women’s deodorant, small jugs of laundry detergent (easy to lift), pine cleaner, scouring powder, dish soap, toilet bowl cleaner, trash bags, dryer sheets, glass cleaner, and furniture polish.

Donors can drop off items at SOS, or deliver them during its 36th annual Fourth Street Fair in October.

The Palladium-Item is featuring SOS programs as part of its 12 Months of Giving campaign in September.

SOS was featured last September as well because of the high needs.

Executive director Vicki Brim said last year’s contributions were “wonderful.”

SOS has a partnership with the Wayne Township Trustee’s office to deliver food from the Community Food Pantry to about 60 homebound seniors in need.

“We’ve been able to give them some extra things because of the donations last year,” Brim said. “It’s wonderful to be able to do that.”

Brim said many residents didn’t know about the soap pantry or its needs until reading last year’s Palladium-Item’s coverage. Donations filled the back room and the icebox (SOS is inside a former grocery store) last fall.

Increased awareness also led to a trickle of donations in recent months, but supplies are beginning to be depleted.

SOS, a Richmond nonprofit organization, connects 55-plus workers who will do cleaning, yard work, companion sitting, cooking, grocery shopping or other home projects for seniors or disabled Wayne County residents.

Some seniors qualify for aid to pay for homemaker or home maintenance services funded through the Area 9 In-Home and Community Services Agency.

Government funding for the program is low and the program usually has a waiting list.

However, there’s temporary good news for local seniors and disabled. A $20,000 grant awarded in June from Reid Health’s Community Benefit program means more seniors and disabled can temporarily receive free homemaker help who usually don’t qualify under income guidelines.

Through the Reid grant, SOS can give eight free homemaker visits of two hours each to those who need some help.

Source: Richmond Palladium-Item,

Information from: Palladium-Item,

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by The Richmond Palladium-Item.