FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — If you’re looking for a way to give back during Breast Cancer Awareness month, a church in Florence is holding a “Pack-A-Bag” campaign to collect essential items for patients in the area.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Mary Manus is a 91-year-old survivor who is currently going through a different cancer scare — she shares what’s important about giving to those in the fight.

“I think the most important thing is to show them that you love them and you care, and not a sad feeling like that’s the end… Make them feel wanted, make them feel happy and just give them your blessing,” Manus told News 19.

Armstead Chapel C.M.E., located on Simpson Street, is collecting bags full of essential items to donate to Alliance Cancer Care.

Since the church started collecting earlier this month — it only has a few donations. Organizers say that participation in packing bags to give to the cancer center has gone down severely since the pandemic.

Glenda Beckwith, a member of the Armstead Chapel C.M.E., told News 19 that when they began this initiative, they packed purses, “We got up to about 300 purses about three years ago, but since the pandemic, it [donations] has really slowed down.”

While the donations have gone down, the need has gone up, according to Melody Delaney with Alliance Cancer Care. “We have more patients asking for assistance than we ever had before. A lot of people don’t have family support, some people don’t even have a ride to the cancer center to get their treatment,” Delaney told News 19.

If you would like to help pack a bag for cancer patients, it is recommended a minimum of seven travel-size items be donated in a bag, or you can donate a wig.

Here is a full list of items that could go in the bags:

  • Socks
  • Scarves
  • Knee Highs
  • Soap
  • Puzzle Books
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Gloves
  • Tissues
  • Mouthwash
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Small towels
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Pencils
  • Journals
  • Books
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hand Sanitizer

When you’re ready to drop off your bags, church members say they can be left at the church’s basement door and someone will come grab them.