Thompson Tee Donates 1,000 Deodorants to Underserved Youth in Oklahoma

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California-based undershirt brand partners with Oklahoma nonprofit INCA-RSVP to deliver personal hygiene kits to local schools.

thompson tee donates 1,000 deodorants

INCA-RSVP volunteers Tiara Blue and Wanda Gray collect Thompson Tee's donation of 1,000 deodorants on May 19, 2017.

As a kid, sweat marks can cripple your confidence. It’s impossible to focus on school when you’re worried whether other kids can see your sweat marks or smell you.

On May 19, Thompson Tee, a California-based undershirt brand, donated 1,000 sticks of Arm & Hammer™ Essentials™ Fresh Deodorant to middle and high schools in Johnston County, Oklahoma.

After reading one Oklahoma woman’s story about being too poor to afford deodorant growing up, Thompson Tee co-founders Billy Thompson and Randy Choi reached out to help.

THE NEED FOR PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS IN POVERTY-RIDDEN COMMUNITIES

For many underserved youth, attending school is a stark reminder of life below the poverty line. Most impoverished American families struggle to afford personal hygiene products, a study by Feeding America found.

In communities like Johnson County, Oklahoma, 27.19 percent of children live below the federal poverty level, and parents must forgo hygiene products to afford essentials like food and housing.

In her article on NonDoc, Oklahoma native Tiara Blue recalls the humiliation of going through school with underarm sweat marks and odor. Without access to deodorant, sweat stains left her shirts clearly darkened, and classmates often commented on the smell. Out of desperation, Blue stole swipes of a friend’s deodorant to cover up the stench.

Now, a professor at Murray State College, Blue is shocked and disheartened that thousands of Oklahoma children still cannot afford deodorant.

When Thompson and Choi came across Blue’s story, her message struck a chord. They related to the insecurity associated with sweat marks and odor and couldn’t imagine going through puberty without deodorant.

Thompson has suffered from axillary hyperhidrosis (the medical condition for excessive underarm sweating) since puberty. Choi also has cranial hyperhidrosis and underwent invasive surgery that worsened his condition. The two even developed a patented sweat proof undershirt, Thompson Tee, to save others from embarrassing sweat marks and stains.

“As a kid, sweat marks can cripple your confidence, which is critical to healthy development,” Thompson said. “It’s impossible to focus on school when you’re worried whether other kids can see your sweat marks or smell you.”

In her article, Blue refers to this type of childhood stress as “cognitive noise.”

“Puberty is hard enough without being poor,” Blue writes. “Right now, just as for the past two-plus decades, cognitive noise is limiting the potential of children with intelligence, talent and ambition.”

JOINING FORCES TO DONATE AND DELIVER DEODORANT

After connecting with Thompson and Choi, Blue contacted Wanda Gray, project director at INCA-RSVP — a nonprofit organization serving southern Oklahoma communities. INCA-RSVP had recently launched a Don’t Sweat It program to provide hygiene bundles to all Johnson County middle and high schools before the start of school in August. The packages include deodorant, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

To support the cause, Thompson Tee donated 1,000 sticks of Arm & Hammer™ Essentials™ deodorant.

In Johnson County alone, 1,398 students receive free or reduced lunches and likely cannot afford basic hygiene products. Gray estimates the donation of 1,000 deodorants will cover the needs of every school in Johnson County.

Purchasing 1,000 deodorants was more difficult than expected, however. Many vendors impose order caps or tack on massive shipping fees for large orders. To get around these fees, Thompson placed 10 orders of 100 sticks of deodorant from Walmart.com.

The deodorants arrived at a local Johnson County Walmart on May 19, where Gray and other INCA-RSVP volunteers collected them to include in the hygiene bundles.

In many ways, growing up without access to deodorant resembles the stress and embarrassment people with excessive sweating face. For most kids and teens, deodorant covers up body odor and reduces the appearance of sweat. But for those who suffer from excessive underarm sweating, these solutions cannot hold up against extreme perspiration.

“If this donation helps just one kid walk a little taller and worry a little less at school, it’s worth it,” Thompson said. “We’re excited about this partnership and look forward to expanding our donation efforts in the future.”
 
ABOUT THOMPSON TEE

Made in the USA, Thompson Tee manufactures affordable sweat proof undershirts for men and women to help preserve their clothes and confidence. The proprietary shirt design combines the style and comfort of high-quality undershirts with patented Hydro-Shield sweat proof technology to offer guaranteed sweat protection. For more information, visit: https://www.thompsontee.com

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Billy Thompson
Thompson Tee
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