How much has Clean the World received and where’s it all going?

On a regular basis, I want to ensure that our entire Clean the World community of partners, supporters, volunteers, and well wishers know exactly how much soap and bottled amenities (shampoo, conditioner, lotion and bath gel) we have received, collected, processed and re-distributed.

Since our inception in February, 2009, our first hotel pickup in March, 2009 and our first delivery to the Central Care Mission in April, 2009, we have received and donated the following:

– Over 9,400 pounds of bar soap has been collected from hotel partners. That’s approximately 100,266 bars of soap (1.5 oz bars) donated, sterlized or re-batched, and recycled. Pretty cool, eh?

– Over 4,500 pounds of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and bath gel has been collected and recycled from hotel partners

***And with the recent increase of CTW hotel partners, 10,425 pounds or 5 TONS of the above that has been collected, processed and recycled over the last 60 days alone!!***

– Soap makers and manufacturers have donated over 440,000 pounds of soap and other hotel amenities… sorry, what did I say?!?… Oh Yes, that’s correct- Our soap maker community and soap manufacturers, led by Marietta Corp, one of the hotel industries leading hygiene and hotel amenity providers (found here: ), have stepped up to the plate BIG TIME with donations of crucial items needed by those less fortunate.

Here’s something else that you may not have known- Clean the World also collects and distributes other hotel amenities such as sewing kits, shoe shine kits, shoe mitts, pens, pads, laundry bags, shower caps, and vanity kits. Think about how valuable a sewing kit is to someone who only has tattered clothes. Or how a shoe shine kit may give a homeless man or woman a psychological boost before heading into a potentially life altering job interview. It all matters and it all helps!

May we take a moment to thank Marietta Corp, soap makers, and amenity providers for their commitment to SAVING LIVES. It makes a lot of sense actually- As soap makers and amenity providers, they know the value that cleansing oneself and proper care has to an individual’s body, mind and spirit. From disease prevention to the psychological impact of a good, thorough cleaning, they are in the business of providing simple necessities that I dare some of us may take for granted.

And on the lighter side, but the absolute truth- Representing the best soap maker name category, Thank you to the “Naked Soap Maker” of Montpelier, ID, who donated 18 pounds of soap to Clean the World… The naked truth is- every little bit helps! (sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

Ok- Back to the numbers….

Guess what the value of all that soap and other amenities is: Over $475,000 !!!! It is only because of the commitment and dedication of the entire Clean the World family of partners and supports that this little soap collecting and recycling charity from Orlando Florida has been able to receive so much valuable soap, amenities and hygiene products!!!

To date, Clean the World has processed or recycled, and distributed over 90% of all of the soap, bottled products and other hotel amenities received. That’s over 409,000 pounds of goods that have been donated.

Domestic groups and organizations receiving goods include the following: Central Care Mission, STAR Family Center, Salvation Army Adult Re-hab Center, Salvation Army Men’s and Woman’s Shelter, Christian Service Center, Covenant House, Help Now of Osceola, Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless, First Baptist Church of Bastrop, TX, and Operation Christmas Child Gift Box by Crossroads Community Church in Sparks, MD.

International groups and organizations receiving goods include the following: Clean the World’s Direct Haiti Distribution, Cap Haitien Health Network, World Vision, Harvest Time International (domestic and international), Floating Doctors, Sanctuary of Praise Ministry sending to Freeport, Bahamas, and a medical mission sending Lesotho, South Africa.

Your financial and gifts in kind donations of soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and other hotel amenities are LIFE SAVING and Clean the World is making sure they are getting into the hands of the organizations, groups, missions and, most importantly, PEOPLE who need them most.

You keep it coming and we’ll stay focused on the cause and continuing telling you all about it!!!

Back from Haiti…

 What an incredible journey! Last week, Clean the World’s leadership team traveled on a Missionary Flights Inernational (MFI) DC-3 cargo plane to Cap Haitien, Haiti. It was our second major soap distribution to the impoverished island.

The non-pressurized, non-air conditioned flight path took us directly over the Bermuda triangle. Nothing to fear though as the MFI crew took good care of us. One quick re-fueling descent in the Bahamas and we are back  in the thin air, on our way again to the northern region of Haiti.

Upon landing, the fun really began. After an hour of negotiating with customs, we finally struck a deal. Half the originally requested customs fee and a Disney World vacation turned our favorite customs gal, affectionately called “The Big Man” by her Haitien peers, into a Clean the World supporter.

While I attempt to describe the actual conditions on teh ground in Cap Haitien, please realize that even though the conditions were described to me time and time again, it is extremely hard to comprehend unless you actually experience it. there is chaos, depression, and desperation. Sewage and filth abound within eyes view during almost every moment. We witnessed an elderly woman defecating in a sewage troth in front of her home and countless individuals urinating. This very same troth overfllowed on our last evening as a flash flood rain came down and flooded the streets of Cap Haitien.

Yet, within this chaos, they are a beautiful and proud people. A culture that has learned to not only exist, but live life to their fullest given the conditions they have been born into. I witnessed the newest born babies and two funerals. They are born like we are, and they honor death in a similar fasion. It just so happens that in between those two extremely similar events, they have learned to function in a society that is much different than ours in the United States. And one that demands the basic necessity of soap and hygiene even more!

While the conditions were overwhelming at times, the smiles that we continued to receive from the people, young and old, as we drove through the streets of Cap Haitien, were absolutely priceless. Smiles represent hope and joy. Take time today to give somebody you know a smile from a Haitian as we recieved a ton to pass along. 🙂

We visited two orphanages, two schools and another large church service where approximately 8,000 gathered in the middle of the day’s heat to worship. Our soap, YOUR SOAP, was incredibly well received. In total, 45,000 bars were distributed on this trip.

We also visited with a group, the Cap Haitien Health Network, organized by Dr. Ted Caplen and his wife Elisabeth, based out of Altamonte Springs, FL. Ted and Elisabeth were in Haiti for the week doing clincals and organizing a group of approximately 30 clinics. One item on their agenda: the new supplies of soap that are arriving from Clean the World. Another arm of our distribution network was established.

One specific moment mush be shared: One the last day as we were leaving the last school we visited, I handed a young Haitian boy, maybe 4 years old, a bundle of soap. He looked at the bundle with a quizzical look. So I smelled another bundle that was in my hands and motioned for him to do the same. He then smelled his bundle and gave a half smile, beginning to understand. Then he took his bundle and began rubbing it on his arm in a cleaning motion, looking at me for a confirmation. I said “YES” with a big smile. He then grinned from ear to ear, one of the biggest smiles of the trip, turned around, and walked back to his desk, holding his bundle of soap with pride. He understood what he recieved and he was incredibly happy and proud! In that very moment, any lingering feelings that our mission may be too much for us to handle completely swept away. Clean the World is not only bringing hygiene but we are bringing hope!

The very last clinic we visited, operated by a Cap Haitien Health Network partner, S.O.I.L., had roughtly 30 sick children waiting to see the doctor. The clinic sees patients only once a week as supplies are low. I asked the doctor why the sick were there. A one word answer said it all- “Hygiene”. Incredible!

Our cargo boat finally left Miami this past weekend with another 175,000 bars. (remember the one we loaded several weeks ago. Well, it only just now left, displaying the shipping difficulties into Haiti.) This boat will arrive this weekend to begin another flow of soap that we are committed to sustaining for many years to come. These clinics, schools, and orphanages will all receive another distribution in the coming days and weeks.

One last note, CBS traveled with Clean the World on this distribution. Stay tuned for an alert from us as we expect the story to air during Katie Couric’s evening news sometime very soon.

Thank you all for your support. And remember to pass a smile to someone today.

Haiti trip proves need for recycled soap

Humbled … and hopeful.

Those are the two words that came to mind as I listened to William Lowry describe his experience delivering our first load of recycled soap to Haiti. William is the founder and executive director of Central Care Mission in Orlando, the organization with which we formed a deep partnership to handle our sterilization and packaging operation.

William rode along in the Missionary Flights International DC-3 that departed Fort Pierce, Fla., on Tuesday, July 7 to deliver 2,000 pounds of soap to Cap Haitien, Haiti – the poorest city in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Once there he met up with Pastor Julio Brutus of the First Haitian Church in Winter Haven, Fla. Pastor Brutus is a native of Haiti and he is our man on the ground in Haiti.

Actually, Pastor Brutus is THE man. This guy knows all the right people … how to get around … how to work the system … and he served the very important role of interpreter.

With Pastor Brutus, William was able to visit and bring soap to two orphanages, and to an estimated crowd of more than 10,000 at a four-hour, mid-week worship service at the Tabernacle of Praise church.

In a country that has suffered a near total collapse of government, the poverty and hopelessness is inconceivable to most of us in the United States. When people barely have any food to eat, many live in homes without proper roofs or walls, and there is an absence of garbage disposal or a proper sewage system – things like personal hygiene tend to fall by the wayside.

People are living in filth, and they don’t have soap. That is a recipe for disaster.

William said that in the three days he was in Cap Haitien, he never saw soap in a public restroom. He didn’t see soap on the shelves of the one small store he found. The desperate need for soap was illustrated by the thousands of people who mobbed the distribution team at the church service. “It was what you imagine it would be like if you delivered a truck full of food to an area where no one had eaten in a month,” said William. “You hope to have some sort of order and an organized distribution, but it just doesn’t work because everyone wants to make sure they get theirs.”

After his visit, William is convinced there is no question about the importance of our mission to distribute recycled hotel soap in places where it is needed most.

“If we can get soap to them, not just once, but over and again, we will have a major impact on their lives,” said William. “Soap can save lives. It’s not just a concept, it is today a reality. It is fact.”

See the entire photo gallery from last week’s Haiti trip.

First pictures from Haiti are in

Some soap has already been distributed at an orphanage, but the majority will be handed out tonight at the large worship service. Here are a few pictures from yesterday’s flight and our arrival in Cap Haitien:

On the ground in Haiti

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, and that you were able to kick back, relax and enjoy time with family and friends. But while many of us were barbecuing and hanging out with loved ones over the three-day weekend, the Clean the World operations staff was working overtime to make sure we had 2,000 pounds of soap sterilized, wrapped, packaged and ready to ship out this week.

On Monday, our William Lowry trucked those 21,000 bars down to Fort Pierce, Fla., so they could be weighed in and loaded on one of the Douglas DC-3 aircraft operated by Missionary Flights International. Then at 7 a.m. Tuesday, William was on board as the plane departed for its twice-weekly flight to Cap Haitien, Haiti.

All 21,000 bars will be distributed tonight at a church service attended by thousands of local residents each week. And with every bar handed out, we’ll be one step closer to helping the residents of Cap Haitien celebrate their independence from diarrheal disease and acute respiratory infection.

Of course every bit of this process costs money. We have to pay for everything from the electricity to run our sterilization equipment to the gas for the airplane. And this past weekend, we were blessed to receive a significant corporate donation that could not have come at a better time. Our good friends at The Seller Sourcebook made a contribution that, ironically, is exactly the amount we needed to pay Missionary Flights for the transportation to Haiti this week.

When Kristen from SSB expressed an interest in donating to Clean the World, we didn’t discuss any particular upcoming expenses, and she had no idea how much this trip was going to cost. But she was moved to donate the exact amount we needed at exactly the right time.

You should have heard Clean the World executive director Shawn Seipler when he called me on the afternoon of July Fourth to tell me he just received a notification of the donation. If it’s possible to do high-fives over the phone, then that’s exactly what Shawn and I were doing at that moment. It was a thrill and a relief to know the expenses of the upcoming Haiti shipment were covered.

So thanks to Kristen and the entire team at The Seller Sourcebook, who provide affordable auction tools, image hosting and a large selection of templates to meet the needs of eBay sellers.

We’ll have pictures and more details about the trip to Cap Haitien in the coming days. And in the meantime, if you are moved to help our cause, please visit our donation page. We sincerely appreciate every dollar you can give.

First delivery to Haiti is just a few days away

For the past few months we’ve been working with hotels to bring them into our partner network. We have dutifully collected soap and shampoo on a weekly basis. And we perfected our sterilization and packaging techniques.

We’re proud of our very meaningful soap and shampoo deliveries to homeless shelters and other domestic destinations — but it’s time for the game to change. We’ve had our sights set on Haiti, Sri Lanka and Uganda for some time, and in a few days we will be able to cross Haiti off the to-do list.

This Thursday, two of our team members will fly to Haiti on a cargo plane that makes weekly supply runs to Cap Haitien, on the northern coast of the country. They will bring approximately 500 pounds of soap, and spend a day on the advance work necessary to ensure smooth sailing when we return five days later with our first of many big shipments to Haiti.

Then on Tuesday, July 7, we will return with several thousand pounds of soap. On that trip we will be accompanied by a reporter and videographer from Fox 35 News in Orlando. They are working on a piece about Clean the World that they hope will make it all the way to the Fox News cable channel after it airs locally.

On Wednesday, July 8, the soap will be distributed at a weekly church service that typically draws up to 30,000 people.

Nope — that wasn’t a typo. I didn’t mean 300 or 3,000. I meant 30,000 people!

How cool is that?

Next week I’ll have the full report and pictures of our first soap distribution to the people of Haiti.

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