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MSU grad expands little free library concept to include basic hygiene products

Adriana Flores next to E2 box
Courtesy of Adriana Flores
Adriana Flores chose Edgewood Village, a low-income housing complex in Meridian Township, for the location of the first box.

The Next Idea

Give a book, take a book. You've probably seen or heard of those tiny, roadside libraries with that mantra. They're usually small wooden structures, like a dog house on stilts, filled with books that are free to anyone in the community.

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea has taken that concept and turned it into a special way to provide basic necessities to folks in need. It’s a box called E²: Empathy and Equity. Instead of books, the box holds free hygiene products.

After discovering government assistance doesn't cover the purchase of things like shampoo, soap, and other hygiene products, Adriana Flores wanted to create a solution that would help those who struggled to access them.

Flores, who recently earned her masters degree from MSU's School of Social Work, also wanted to make sure women had access to sanitary pads and tampons, items that are also excluded from government assistance.

“There’s this isolation that comes with not having the feminine hygiene products that you need. Maybe not going out in public that much. You make do with what you can," Flores said. “I thought that was a position nobody should have to be in.”

Though only one box exists right now, Flores hopes the concept will catch on.

“It would be incredible to see this idea resonate with other people," she said. "If other people feel that’s incredible and want to bring it to their area, I can’t even express how cool that would be."

To learn more, visit esquaredbox.weebly.com or listen to the full conversation above.

The Next Ideais Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.


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