FAYETTEVILLE — The scent of Irish Spring is strong in the WorkMatters office. It’s not surprising, considering that it’s filled with about 4,000 bars of soap, and counting.
The collection is part of the nonprofit organization’s “Raising the Bar” campaign. The goal is to collect 10,000 bars of soap for the children and families served by LifeSource International in Fayetteville.
“We’ll keep piling them here until the smell drives us out,” said David Roth, president of WorkMatters, a faithto-work group with the goal of helping workers integrate their spiritual lives with their careers.
The idea for “Raising the Bar” came from Ernie Conduff, president and chief executive officer of LifeSource. Conduff shared with his staff the hope that somehow they could provide every family that came through their doors with a bar of soap. That would mean about 1,200 bars of soap for the month.
When Roth and his team heard about the need for soap they decided to get involved.
“We prayed about it and decided to adopt Ernie’s dream, with one exception. We had a bigger dream, that we would like to help 10,000 families have a bar of soap,” Roth said.
Now the office is filled with the shower-fresh scents of Dial, Ivory, Zest and Dove.
From single bars to entire pallets, participants of Work-Matters programs have donated loads of soap, as have corporations and the public. The culmination of the project will be during the May 6 Chick-fil-A Leadercast sponsored by WorkMatters.
The annual live simulcast from Atlanta will feature nationally recognized businessleaders, writers and television personalities, including Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts and financial expert and author Dave Ramsey. Last year, about 1,500 attended the event, and Roth is expecting at least that many this year.
And he hopes they’ll bring along a bar of soap.
“It’s an item people really, genuinely need,” Roth said. “And it’s something we take for granted.”
The soap will then be donated to LifeSource, which offers a variety of programs to help people of all ages, including adult education classes, a food pantry, counseling services, luncheons for senior citizens, summer camps for children and after-school tutoring and mentoring.
Soap and personal hygiene items are always in demand, Conduff said. That’s because the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program doesn’t allow participants to buy such nonfood items.
“They can’t buy soap, laundry detergent … because of that it’s a really huge need,” Conduff said. “If we ever get a few bars in, they are gone immediately.”
Roth said he hopes the group will meet the goal of 10,000 bars. He sees it as a way to help show WorkMatters participants how easy it is to combine their faith and work. It can be as easy as buying a bar of soap.
“The opportunity to help someone increase their dignity through a bar of soap is powerful,” he said.
Information about the WorkMatters “Raising the Bar” campaign and the Chickfil-A Leadercast is available online at Raising the Bar. Information about LifeSource International is at LifeSource.