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Slippery Slope: 2 Million Bars of Soap Donated To LA’s Homeless

After a rough day, it’s nice to take a warm shower and wash away the stress with your favorite body wash or soap. Now imagine being homeless—when every day is rough—and not having that simple option.

Who would have thought that one of the most necessary items in our lives — soap — is also one of the most scarcely donated?

But thanks to one Sherman Oaks couple who recently donated two million bars of soap to Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization Shelter Partnership, folks in need will be able to access this often taken-for-granted item.

Donda Mullis and Ronnie Shugar founded Raw Sugar Living in 2014. The company sells clean and healthy living products that have plant-derived certified organic extracts. And according to the Raw Sugar Initiative, when you purchase a product from Raw Sugar Living, one bar of soap is donated to someone in need.

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“Our want was to create a brand with a heart that connected consumers with a cause,” Mullis said.

“A bar of soap, which we all take for granted, is probably the best thing you can have for someone of less fortunate means,” Shugar added. “If we can help inspire people to look for a better job, to feel better about themselves, to go to school with pride, this is just the first step.”

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Screenshot via NBC

“These are much-needed items that, normally, agencies would have to buy themselves,” said Director of product donations at the Shelter Partnership. Marquez said. “So, this is a very important donation.”

Once Shelter Partnerships has the items, they distribute them to other organizations that need them. At the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, public relations coordinator Alexandra Monsibaez emphasized how important the soap is: “These donations mean everything to us.”

“Just because they’re experiencing homelessness doesn’t mean they don’t want to be clean. They want the same things that we do when we’re living in our own place,” says Monsibaez, who was addicted to drugs and homeless in the past. “We want to be able to shower. We want to be able to do regular things, and soap is one of those donations that is vital to what we do.”

“We’re trying our best to give back,” Shugar said. “And maybe show people that being inspired and doing good, it rubs off, and you’ll have the next person who pays it forward.”

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi