Posted by Brenda Schubach Kiehnau on August 30, 2015
Imagine the Impact: One Bar of Soap at a Time
In early June, Hope House in Milwaukee was the recipient of 100 bars of soap being donated by I Am a Force4Good®. As it happens, bars of soap are the foundation upon which I Am a Force4Good® was built. And, the mission of Hope House, an organization founded to support battered women and children who’ve been forced into homelessness served as inspiration in the creation of I Am a Force4Good®.
The Impact of The Suffering of Others
In the midst of the economic downturn during the summer of 2010, I was on a sales call with women from all over the country. My end of the line was muted, however I could hear the women talking amongst themselves as they waited for the presenter to open the line. The women were talking about how they had lost their savings in 2008 and how they were hoping and praying for a way to survive. Some of the women were losing their homes to foreclosure.
I had managed to avoid being financially devastated by the stock market crash by sheer accident. Hearing the pain and desperation in these women’s voices made me want to do something to help them. I didn’t know what I could do at that time. But the question was there. How can I help? Is there a way to start a socially conscious business to help these women and women like them survive despite the fact that they are paralyzed by fear? These women seemed willing to do anything to survive and provide for their children even if it meant sacrificing their dignity. My heart was moved to want to help in as big a way as I possibly could.
Shortly before Christmas, on a bitter cold Chicago evening I passed by shelters that had always been able to house the homeless. However on this night there were so many people they were turning away dozens, women and children included. It was 10 degrees with the bitter cold wind blowing off of Lake Michigan. I was devastated. I wondered where these women and children would go, how they would survive the night let alone stay warm.
I experienced a piercing sense of guilt knowing that my family was safe and warm and would be celebrating Christmas in a few days. Knowing there were so many women and children trying to stay together as a family, looking for a warm subway grate, living on the streets and facing whatever dangers presented, was absolutely devastating. There were too many homeless people for the facilities in Chicago. What about the rest of the country? There must have been thousands more without a roof over their heads.
The Birth of Compassion
During this same period of time, a small soap factory was closing due to of a lack of funding. This was a nonprofit organization that supported survivors of domestic violence. It was an organization that protected women and helped them regain their dignity by making bars of soap. The idea appealed to me to establish a similar opportunity to give women work they could be proud of. The idea of beautiful, hand-made soaps that would make wonderful gifts and help women regain their dignity was the seedling idea that took root and has grown into an international organization helping thousands of women and children. I am a Force4Good® was born and now women who were on the verge of disaster and despair and flourishing once more.
I am a Force4Good® loves giving back. We give the homeless opportunities to flourish and we give our products to other organizations that care for those subject to domestic violence. Homelessness does not discriminate, nor does violence. It is critically important that we keep our minds and hearts open to support all in need. When you consider giving, consider giving an opportunity of dignity.
And always, Image the Impact!