Basic Needs

How does United Way address Basic Needs? 

United Way of Treasure Valley helps children who are struggling outside of school. Right now, approximately 4,000 K-12 students are experiencing homelessness in the Treasure Valley. From Boise to Nampa to Caldwell, many students and their families are ‘couch surfing,’ living out of cars or motels, or they have moved in with another family or friend. United Way finds ways to support these students by providing hygiene items and shelf-stable foods to each school district’s social workers and homeless student liaisons, who directly support these students. 

Hygiene Kits

In 2015, United Way of Treasure Valley began rallying community members, volunteers, businesses, school districts and faith-based groups to build Hygiene Kits. These kits include about a one-month supply of basic hygiene items, like toothpaste, deodorant, soap, laundry detergent, and feminine hygiene items. Over the past few years, United Way, along with hundreds of local volunteers, have built more than 3,000 hygiene kits, which United Way delivers to social workers and homeless student liaisons across the Treasure Valley school districts. 

In 2016, a local Boy Scout from Boise brought together dozens of volunteers who assembled nearly 1,000 hygiene kits, using items donated by listeners of Spanish radio station 106.3 La Gran D, Radio Rancho. Read the story here

Basic Needs Pantry Project

In March 2017, United Way of Treasure Valley launched the Basic Needs Pantry Project. With help from Leadership Boise participants, United Way built a special section in its Boise office to house hygiene items, shelf-stable foods and new clothing necessities, like socks and underwear. Women United volunteers manage the School Pantry. Social workers in the local schools can visit the Women United School Pantry to stock up on goods for local children and families in need, free of charge. 


  • 3,500 homeless students received holiday care packages filled with essentials to help them get through winter break
  • 3,600 children and teens from 60 schools received food, clothing, school supplies, and hygiene items
  • 21,250 meals were provided and served to 1,450 children at 20+ sites

Get involved!

Local students and their families are in constant need of hygiene items, new clothing (socks, underwear, etc.) and shelf-stable foods, like peanut butter, granola bars and fruit cups. Donations of these items are always welcome at United Way of Treasure Valley.

If you are interested in getting more involved with the Basic Needs School Pantry, or you would like to run a collection drive for these items with your office, civic group, faith-based organization, or any other group, learn more at our Women United School Pantry page by clicking the link below!