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Church competition 'lathers up' 58 pounds of soap

Staff writer

The inspiration of two local women led to the donation of 58 pounds of soap destined to improve health worldwide.

Valley United Methodist Church members Lydia Gates and Margaret Wilson got their inspiration last spring at a Healthy Congregations retreat.

“We needed to find a project that would impact our church congregations socially, physically and spiritually,” Gates said.

The project they selected was donating bars of soap to Clean the World, a global soap recycling program that sends hygiene items to homeless shelters, disasters, and impoverished communities across the world. Clean the World recycles new and partially used bars of soap, whether full- or hotel-sized, into full-sized soap bars for distribution. Gates got the idea from a niece who works in a hotel that participates in the program.

Gates and Wilson launched the “Soapy Hearts for Health” collection effort in Marion. Other Marion churches joined in and held a friendly competition to see which congregation could collect the most soap. Children who attended Valley church’s Rainbow Riders after-school program decorated donation boxes and created promotional posters.

Parishioners also donated money to pay shipping costs to send the soap to Clean the World’s collection center in Las Vegas, Nevada. When all the soap was shipped, Marion residents had given 58 pounds — surpassing the amount the women expected.

“We were amazed at the amount of soap donated in just one week at Valley,” Gates said. “People began really embracing the project. Someone even posted on Facebook to remind other parishioners to bring their soap donations.”

Eastmoor United Methodist Church, donating 29.5 pounds of soap, won the competition between local churches. Valley donated 25 pounds and Marion Christian Church donated 3.5 pounds.

Eastmoor will receive a certificate of appreciation and a special gift.

Last modified March 16, 2016

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