Soap may seem like a small or insignificant thing for those who have access to it, but soap means a lot to visitors at Steinbach Community Outreach (SCO).

Community Resource Coordinator, Madeleine Thiessen, says soap makes you feel confident and presentable, like the best version of yourself. 

“People come in, sometimes they come in and they don't smell the best. If you give them body wash, they can shower and they can feel better about themselves.” 

She says if you have ever gone without a shower for a whole week, you can begin to understand what it feels like to not have access to soap. 

“If you have a day that you don't get to shower or two days or three days, imagine not showering for a week, and then not having anything to shower with. Soap is a huge product for us to give away.” 

Thiessen adds that laundry soap is also in high demand at SCO.

“Laundry detergent is crazy expensive right now. They use dish soap to do their laundry, because that's what they have.” 

Myra Gerbrandt with SCO says it’s best to donate laundry detergent in the form of pods, as that way, they can spread it out among several people who visit SCO, rather than one person or family receiving a jug. 

She says giving hygiene products to people who don’t have them changes the way they feel about themselves and gives them back their dignity. 

“I just remember vividly, one of the guys just felt terrible about himself, even just how he carried himself was just so dejected. We took him for a shower and we brought a bunch of clean clothes and some soap products, and he came back a different person,” she says. “It's just amazing what cleanliness can do for our self-esteem. It's huge.” 

The main three ‘soaps’ they need are dish soap, laundry pods, and body wash. 

Gerbrandt adds that they are very grateful when they receive a variety of scents, as it's nice to provide different options. 

“Make sure there's some men's scents because the guys don't want to necessarily walk around like flowers.” 

She notes that some people who visit SCO use soap and toiletries as currency. 

For example, if they want to stay at someone’s house, they may offer a roll of toilet paper or body wash as a thank you. 

“They don't want to take advantage of other people, right? So they come with something to offer.” 

Soap For Hope is collecting donations on April 18 at Pharmasave in Steinbach. Learn more about Soap for Hope here.   


With files from Carly Koop