Some hotel amenities are necessities that guests don’t think twice about—from clean towels to working WiFi. The most basic of these needs is toilet paper. A full roll of toilet paper in a hotel bathroom is something many guests take for granted. However, what happens to toilet paper rolls that are only partly depleted once a guest checks out?
That’s a question that leaders have asked at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. As an answer, the resort has been donating excess and unused toilet paper to community assistance organizations for the past decade. Each year, Pechanga donates more than 20,000 partially unsed toilet paper rolls.
Eric Pendon, director of environmental services and housekeeping at Pechanga Resort Casino, says that regular recipients of toilet paper donations, gently used sheets and bedding, and sometimes bathrobes include The Bread of Life Rescue Mission, Project T.O.U.C.H., and several other community organizations.
In particular, Project T.O.U.C.H. and Pechanga have a long-standing partnership. The nonprofit provides housing and services to people in inland Southern California who are on the brink of homelessness. Anne Unmacht, director of Project T.O.U.C.H., told The Press-Enterprise last September that Temecula Valley is experiencing a surge in its chronic homeless population. In many situations, her clients experience an unforeseen crisis that places them on the verge of homelessness. Project T.O.U.C.H provides a safety net for those single mothers, veterans, senior citizens, and others who find themselves in that situation, she told The Press-Enterprise. These clients are on extremely fixed incomes and cannot use food stamps to buy items like toilet paper or hygiene products, which can be expensive.
“Toilet paper is like gold for us,” Unmacht said. “For us to be able to bless our clients with this donation and throughout the year is more valuable than you could ever know.”
At Pechanga, toilet paper collection from the resort’s 1,090 rooms is just a part of daily housekeeping duties. Room attendants put partially used toilet paper rolls on their carts and deposit them in large blue bins on rollers, which measure about eight feet tall and five feet wide. Once those bins are full, Pechanga calls its community partners, who send a truck for pickup. If they are unable to pickup, Pechanga calls on its committed group of team member volunteers to drive the supplies to these agencies.
For instance, last October, Pechanga volunteers drove an especially large donation of toilet paper, facial tissue, gently used blankets, and bedroom slippers to Murrieta where they were distributed to clients of Project T.O.U.C.H. The volunteers estimated there to be 1,500 rolls packed into a 15-passenger van that had all of its seats removed. Recipients helped unload the haul and filled their own take-home bags with toilet paper, as well as non-perishable foods and toys donated by other groups.
The program’s benefits reach beyond the resort’s surrounding community to impact the environment, Pendon says. “We’re always looking for ways to be more environmentally conscious, and for ways to help communities in need. These donations make it so that folks facing challenges don’t need to choose between food, medicine, or household necessities. All while making good use of resources.”