Cork woman makes toiletry bags for frontline staff


A Cork woman and her children have made hundreds of toiletry goody bags for frontline workers, to show solidarity with those at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis.

Hilary Coughlan, who is originally from the Glanmire area, says she was cleaning out her cupboards and found lots of toiletries she could not use, so she decided to make a goody bag to donate to frontline staff.

“I think the whole country is doing a spring clean at the moment, we all have so much stuff in our houses.

“I found some toiletry gift sets which weren’t to my taste, and I also have a skin condition so I can’t use some of the stuff. So I made a goody bag out of them and was going to give it to frontline staff,” she said.

Then I thought about the hotels that are closed, they must have lots of toiletries that aren’t being used. So I rang around a few hotels. Some were closed [so no one could answer the phone], some rang me back and were happy to donate to the cause.

Vienna Woods, Fota, Carrigaline Court, and the Metropole Hotel all donated toiletries to Hilary.

“They gave me pallets of the stuff, mini toiletries that weren’t being used. Johnson & Johnson in Ringaskiddy also became involved, and donated cotton buds, mouthwash, baby wipes, creams, lotions and potions,” said Hilary.

Among the products included in the packs are shower gels, shampoo, conditioners, soap, body lotions, hand cream, lip balm, mouthwash, baby wipes, and facemasks.

Hilary and her three children, Alex, Kerry, and Luca, got to work and made roughly 1,000 goody bags.

There were 30 boxes of them. I got in my car and drove to the Mercy Hospital, Cork University Hospital, St Finbarr’s Hospital, Bridewell Garda Station, Penny Dinners, the ambulance depot, as well as St Luke’s Nursing Home, Douglas Nursing Home, and Darraglynn Nursing Home.

“I have 60 left to deliver this week. I am planning on going to Togher Garda Station and the fire engine depot in Anglesea Street later.”

Hilary says Ireland’s frontline healthcare staff and essential workers, including bin men and shop workers, need to be supported.

“My mam and aunt were nurses. These nurses and doctors come off their shift, and what they are going through at work [is very tough].

“I’m hoping they can use these goody bags to freshen up and give themselves a bit of a lift.

“I’ve done my part, and anyone can do it. It’s the random gestures of kindness [that matter].”

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