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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.


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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