This past Wednesday, October 15th, was Global Handwashing Day. Now I’m sure this is a holiday you’ve never heard of, but considering the Ebola crisis that is currently all over the news, it’s an especially relevant holiday. Did you know that simply washing hands with soap and clean water after going to the bathroom and before preparing or eating food has proven to reduce contraction of diarrheal diseases (the second highest killer of children under 5) by fifty percent! This is the message Global Handwashign Day wants to spread, globally and here in the USA. As the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing states, “Handwashing with soap is a “do-it-yourself vaccine” that prevents infections and saves lives.” Couldn’t say it better myself!
So what exactly is Global Handwashing Day? It is a day dedicated to celebrating the knowledge we have of handwashing techniques to stop the spread of preventable diseases, and a day to encourage teaching these techniques to the people who would benefit from learning them the most. Over 200 million people each year in 100 different countries log their celebrations on the partnership’s site and are proud participants of the day.
This year, SoapBox decided it was time for us to get involved. Since our company is built upon the purpose of providing the materials for the complete hygiene package (i.e. bar soap, clean water, and vitamins), it pretty much is a day built for us. A month or so ago, five new Whole Foods regions brought our product lines in. And while normally for every bar of that soap sold, we give a bar, that bar could end up anywhere around the country and world. But with the Ebola crisis and the knowledge that often we forget about our own fellow citizens who also need help with hygiene, we created a partnership with our Whole Foods bar sales in these regions and a large local food bank in each respective region.
That means that now, if you are buying our soap in the Northern California, Southern Pacific, Rocky Mountains, Northeast, or Florida regions of Whole Foods, the aid bar generated from your purchase goes directly to the food bank in your region! (If you’re curious which states are represented in those regions, click here) The participating food banks include the SF- Marin Food Bank, the LA Regional Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Food Bank of the Rockies, Food Bank for NYC, and Feeding South Florida.
On the 15th, we kicked off the new partnership with a 10,000 total bar donation, spread between the six banks. Lee Cheney, the Food and Fund Sourcing Manager at the NYC bank explained, “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance subsidies that families receive does not allow them to purchase any non-food items. Health and beauty items are not only a necessity but also are another component of an individual retaining their dignity. SoapBox’s donations will be a tremendous addition to the resources we will be able to offer our neighbors in need, so they too can feel good inside and out!”
Here are a few more photos from the first soap drops!