Could Toilet Paper Bring Utah Communities Together?

Mar 16, 2020

With schools closing and people being asked to restrict social gatherings, people have started to prepare for self-quarantining. As people are flocking to stores all at once, some supplies are starting to become scarce. Some members of the community that have decided to take matters into their own hands and hand out toilet paper to those in need. 

If you have been to the grocery store lately, you might have noticed a lot of empty shelves where food and hygiene products used to sit. Toilet paper is no exception.

People in the state have been posting ads online advertising free toilet paper rolls to people that need them. Shawntel Carnell in Sandy, Utah, posted her ad on Facebook Marketplace. She said her family started to stock up on toilet paper when the coronavirus started to spread.

“Just hearing some of the conversations in the aisles of  'what am I going to do? I have no toilet paper at home.' It kind of just sparked me and my husband having a funny conversation at home going, 'do we have enough? Did we over buy? And what about those people that don't have, you know, toilet paper?' And so, we're just like, 'let's just run an ad and see what happens.' Maybe nobody really needs it. And if they do really need it, we want to help," Carnell said.

Carnell has had both positive and negative feedback from what she and her family are doing. Some people are grateful to get that one roll to help them get by just a little longer while others wish they could have more.

Over in Lehi, Christian Heathcote has been doing a similar thing on KSL.com. Growing up, his mother would stockpile toilet paper in addition to other supplies and food and he has continued to do so as an adult. He got the idea of handing out toilet paper after seeing internet memes and people trying to sell it for hundreds of dollars online.

“It was more of a social experiment for me. I thought it'd be interesting to see what would happen if I did the exact opposite and threw it out for free. And so far, the responses have been really positive for the most part," Heathcote said. "It's been really cool to see it. I wasn't really expecting to do this. It is kind of on a whim and seeing dozens of people text me more just thanking me to they're all telling me ‘Oh, I have enough toilet paper. But I just think what you're doing is awesome’. I'm not trying to do anything special or anything. I was just trying to see if I could help in some way in some small way. It's just toilet paper”

According to Healthtrends, Utah is ranked the 3rd most concerned state when it comes to toilet paper availability.