Charity Project: Make a Soap SACK

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Charity Project: Make a Soap SACK

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It’s not easy to find the right project to craft for charity, especially when there are so many out there! We’re thrilled to tell you about SACK, an inclusive idea started by Stacy Wiener. SACK stands for Serving a Community with Kindness. Stacy is starting a ‘soap sack movement’, donating much-needed basic toiletries in a heartfelt way. These handmade soap cozies are simple, but make a dramatic difference in the lives of the people who receive them. For more about her project, links to our soap sack patterns, and extra tips for how you can make a difference, read on!

Looking for a Simple Project

Stacy lives near the beach, and many summer days, you’ll find her crafting near the water. One particularly warm day, she realized her current WIP – a big afghan – just wasn’t the right project to bring along. She went on the hunt, as many of us have, for a small, simple project, that would be fun & easy to craft while relaxing in the sun. That’s when she discovered soap sacks. Stacy found a pattern on Youtube, altered it for her skill level, and got to stitching.

Soap Sack

Soap Sack (Knit)

What’s a Soap Sack?

Soap sacks are small bags, made out of all-cotton fibers, that you can pop a bar of soap in. The loop on top allows you hang the soap to dry. The fabric of the bag itself acts both as a washcloth and a means to keep the bar clean in between uses.

Crafting Locally

She was crafting with her local food pantry in mind. She’d been volunteering there long enough to notice that folks who visited the pantry often inquired about toiletries. People who dropped off donations usually brought food supplies, so the pantry rarely had toiletries to offer those in need. Stacy puts it this way: “If families in need have an extra dollar, they’ll likely buy pasta or peanut butter.” Basic toiletries create good hygiene habits, and therefore contribute to personal dignity and confidence. But people often overlook these essential items when they donate. Stacy decided to crochet 25 bags, add soap, and bring them with her the next time she volunteered.

“The response,” Stacy says, “was unbelievable.”

Not only were patrons enormously grateful for a fresh bar of soap, they couldn’t believe they got to take these beautiful crafts with them. “I get to keep this?” they asked over and over. Stacy was on to something special.

In researching more groups to donate to, she realized just how much need there was in her own community. “It’s very well-to-do, but there are pockets with pantries, shelters, and transitional housing, and I would google by town or county to see who was taking donations,” Stacy explains. She would crochet a few dozen sacks, buy the soap, and absorb the cost herself. Occasionally, someone would approach her on the beach, drawn by the energy of her crafting. She’d describe her project, and to her surprise, they’d say, “I could do that with you.” Eventually, a small handful of people were crafting Stacy’s soap sacks.

Stacy with the crafters of Hazlet Library

Stacy with the crafters of Hazlet Library.

Creating SACK

Then, word of her project spread in a big way. This past December, her local paper did a small interview. She didn’t realize at the time, but the interview was posted online. Overnight, the story was picked up by hundreds of papers! She’d shared her email address, and soon she was receiving message from people all over the country. SACK was born – Supporting a Community with Kindness. She got a P.O. Box, for receiving donations, and set up a Facebook page, so people could share pattern ideas and yarn sales.

Soap Sack Sisterhood

‘Soap Sack Sisterhood’ at Hazlet Library

Soap Sacks: Perfect for Any Crafter

Stacy’s soap sacks are the perfect project for any crafter.

If you’re looking for a solo project, it’s great to travel with, and you’ll have the pattern memorized in no time.

But it’s also ideal if you want to start a crafting group – nothing brings people together like the spirit of giving!

Many older crafters have shared with her that this project has given them a great sense of import and accomplishment.

Lastly, it’s great for young people, too. They can pick it up easy, and make a difference in their community. Since she has a 12-year-old son, Stacy is passionate about easy ideas for young people to get involved.

How to Make Your Soap Sack

Here at Lion Brand, we’ve worked with Stacy two create a simple pattern for her soap sacks, knit and crochet. The yarn you use must be cotton, since it needs to be soft (for use as a washcloth), and it also must dry well and launder very easily. For this reason, we’d recommend using our 24/7 Cotton Yarn. From just one skein you can craft about 3 sacks, so it’s a very economically-friendly project! For those living on a fixed income, it’s a cost-effective way to make a difference.

Here is a link to our Soap Sack (Knit) Pattern

Here is a link to our Soap Sack (Crochet) Pattern

Soap Sack Crochet

Soap Sack (Crochet)

Stacy with the ladies of United Way Monmouth and Ocean Counties

Stacy (Right) with the ladies of United Way Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Donating Your Soap Sack

While Stacy receives many donations in the mail and distributes them in her area, her ultimate goal is for people to contribute in their own communities.

For those who feel overwhelmed finding and visiting a shelter or pantry by themselves, there are many churches groups that accept donations of this kind. “Chances are,” Stacy assures, “any church or group with a pantry can use toiletry donations.”

Once you make your first donation, she’s is confident your heart will swell, like hers did.

Stacy is pictured at the left, dropping off a donation of 225 soap sacks to United Way Monmouth and Ocean Counties. While some of her donations include soap sacks that have been mailed to her by others, Stacy estimates that she’s personally made and donated about 5,000 soap sacks.

“It’s been a lot,” she laughs, “but it’s been incredible – ‘rewarding’ is an understatement.”

Be sure to include the soap!

Since many pantries lack toiletry supplies, it’s essential to include the soap while donating! Be sure to include the bar in its original packaging, or the pantry may not be able to accept the donation. Stacy suggests several ways to get your soap: “dollar stores as well as big box stores sell soap at a discounted price.” She’s also worked with local groups: Boy & Girl Scout troops, church and temple youth groups, Elks Lodges, and high school service clubs have all coordinated soap drives for her in the past year. In addition, stores and companies have donated, as well. Be creative!

Making a Difference, Everywhere

Stacy and Samir

Stacy & Samir

Stacy always travels with a supply of soap sacks, and donates whenever she visits a new area. Many pantries she visits have never received toiletry donations before, and are in desperate need. They are overjoyed when Stacy arrives with her hand-crafted contributions! One volunteer receiving her donation said, “What a dignified way to give soap to our clients.”

Stacy recently met Samir Lakhani, founder of Eco Soap Bank in Pittsburgh and 2017 CNN Hero. His organization provides soap and hand washing instructions to under-served regions, such as Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. Stacy donated 333 soap sacks, which he will distribute.

She’s also connected with the KURA Project – a group working to improve opportunities for girls in Kenya. “There’s a need all over the world,” Stacy says. “It’s a dream come true to have this go beyond my county and my neighborhood, to become a ‘soap sack movement’,” as a friend of hers coined.

Join the Soap SACK Movement

You can connect with Stacy and SACK on Facebook, by visiting the page for her group HERE. Since we know many crafters might prefer to connect another way, Stacy has generously shared her email address: A relative has offered to help her build a website, so that will be coming soon.

Let us know in the comments below if you’re interested in joining Stacy’s ‘movement’!
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  • Joined this wonderful movement in January this year and have made 720 Soap Sacks as of this morning. Please join us to make Sacks for the underserved communities everywhere. The need is so great and every little bit of help is appreciated. Thanks to Stacy for coming up with this brilliant idea.

  • How can I help? Wanting to do knit as well as crochet soap sacks. Where do I send them to? Nobody here in my small town does anything like that but crochet and knit is my life. Thanks!

  • I like to help to make there.

  • I have shown this to my students (adults from my recreation center classes) and they are excited to make these for our local food pantry and other charities in town. Thanks for the patterns and the ideas!
    I make throws/afghans for the local Seton House, and my students want to help me with that project as well. Last year (2017) I took 50 afghans and throws to donate to the women and children in Seton House.
    I like the idea of where to find large batches of soap for less (the dollar stores). That was the one question I had gotten and didn’t know how to answer.
    Hooray for crocheting and knitting and serving others!

  • I am very interidea for the pantries here..ested in helping..I have a group of ladys at our church an we meet 1x a month working on items to help our community. Right now most of us crochets..Great idea to help our pantries here..
    Brenda ..God bless

  • sorry about the messed up comment should have looked before I submitted…

  • I was so excited to see this on my facebook feed just a few minutes ago! I’m going to get my cotton yarn out and get busy! I know my community could really use these, it’s an easy project with so much meaning. Thank you for sharing. I’ll keep you posted from Portland, OR.

  • I’d love to begin a group of crocheters and knitters to support SACK in my area! I’ll start my own soap sacks tonight! Love this and honored to serve my community.

  • I brought this idea to our group, The St. Anne Stitching Sisters of St. Thomas More Catholic Church and everyone loved the idea! We are currently figuring out a soap drive and how to pay for cotton yarn, but our first twenty sacks are done and we are so grateful for Stacey and her great idea! It truly is a need worldwide, who wouldn’t want a fresh washcloth and a new bar of soap to help them feel better? This really is a wonderful way for everyone to help others, locally and globally. I am hooked!

  • Where do I get the labels to print to include with each soapsack?

  • I’ve been a member of the group for sometime now and was just able to get some cotton yarn to start my donation. Will be getting bars of soap and donating locally!

  • I can’t knit or crochet but I can buy soap and deliver for you. I volunteer at The Center and Mercy Center in Asbury Park. Both organizations have daily clients that could use your soap sacks. Please email me if you would like me to deliver these for you.

  • I’d like to join the movement! Where can I get the labels for the sacks?

  • I cannot wait to get started on this lovely project. And to know that it was created by someone in my own community makes it all the more meaningful.

  • Thanks for this great idea. Our group made more than 60 bags for our local Homeless Center

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