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Handmade Laundry Soap Mission Touches Lives

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Maggie Steele Makes Laundry Soap for Joplin Tornado Victims

When my dad sent the clipping from the local newspaper, I knew I had to cover this story. I was amazed at the way one woman had connected with hundreds of families by focusing on a mundane, everyday necessity:  laundry detergent. She realized the need was great, every week, for hundreds of families still awaiting a permanent home nearly a year after they lost theirs to a terrible storm.

Maggie Steele determined a way to put her time and know-how to work stretching donated resources to help the most people for the least cost.  She tweaked a homemade laundry soap recipe to fit current needs and resources, coming up with a way for people to collectively wash more than 35,000 loads of laundry and save thousands of dollars in the process.

On the phone before my visit, I chatted with Maggie about how she made the project happen, even comparing homemade laundry soap recipes.  The one I was using, from WVE, called for vegetable based Castile soap.  She hadn’t tried that, so I excitedly cleared most of my local store shelf to take her some bars.

While most of the laundry soap for storm victims has been made in Joplin, I found out that some was made by the efforts of out-of-state schoolchildren who sent it back to the area.  When I met a church youth group learning to make soap for the first time, I was impressed by their willingness to undertake any task they were given with a humble attitude.

No doubt I can’t imagine how great the hurt and need still is in Joplin, especially for those who lost loved ones.  I do understand that the simplest acts of kindest, even things easily overlooked, can serve to heal the human spirit.

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One Response to Handmade Laundry Soap Mission Touches Lives

  1. becki April 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    What a wonderful and inspiring story!

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