UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19
Late last week, we announced that recycled soap had shipped from Clean the World facilities in Orlando and Las Vegas to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew. Now we are pleased to follow up with news about where those shipments are:
• Haiti: More than 191,000 bars of soap have been shipped to Haiti and are being distributed to the hardest-hit areas in the country’s southern region. This includes over 21,000 soap bars being handed out in partnership with Direct Relief and 167,000 with My Neighbor’s Children. We expect to deliver another full container of soap to Haiti this week. The next shipment may contain up to a quarter million bars of soap.
• The Bahamas: More than 41,000 soap bars arrived in The Bahamas on Sunday and are being distributed to the affected areas in partnership with the Salvation Army and a network of other aid groups.
• United States: We expect to deliver at least 3,000 hygiene kits this week to some of the locally affected areas as well in to the northeast coast of Florida, and the Carolinas.
These hygiene items will make a big difference as governments and residents struggle with the aftermath of the storm, and as cholera begins to spread again in Haiti. We will continue to send additional shipments in the coming weeks to meet the ongoing demand.
Our volunteer support has been tremendous, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who helped make the efforts such a huge success. Although the urgent need for volunteers is waning, we still need financial support to help fund the shipping and distribution of the soap.
As Hurricane Matthew lashed at southern Haiti on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Clean the World was already making plans to ramp up soap production and packing. Standing water and poor hygiene are a recipe for the spread of bacterial diseases. So based on our experience in the island nation and what we heard from the global hygiene community, we were relatively certain there would be a cholera outbreak after the storm passed.
Even as Central Florida residents prepared for Matthew to pass near or across the Sunshine State, local volunteers began streaming into our Orlando facility. Our goal was to ship 400,000 soap bars to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.
A week later, on Thursday, Oct. 13, we passed our goal and were closing in on a half-million soap bars packed and ready for shipment. We closed the week at 550,000 bars packed.
We were amazed by how fast that happened. Big thanks to the nearly 600 Orlando-area volunteers who showed up that first week. We also want to recognize our Clean the World team members who kept the production line running, the forklift moving, and the volunteers busy during those long 16-hour days.
But we aren’t finished yet! Clean the World still needs your financial support and volunteer help. Watch this blog, our Facebook page, and e-mail updates for more information on volunteer opportunities and fundraising programs.