Stacy Wiener is the founder of S.A.C.K. (Supporting a Community With Kindness), a nonprofit organization that donates knitted sacks — with bars of soap and positive messages inside — to people in need. “Most people are not aware that basic toiletries, such as soap, cannot be purchased with food stamps. The need for these items is essential, especially during this current pandemic," she tells People CHICA. "We’re donating the bar of soap — but the handmade sack, which includes a tag explaining where they came from — provides a heartfelt addition that our recipients truly appreciate. Our soap sack donations help to send a message of dignity, hope, compassion, health, and love, all life-affirming emotions that can restore a person, both physically and mentally.”
Stacy — along with volunteers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia that are part of S.A.C.K. — knit or crochet these colorful sacks and donate them (with a bar of soap in each one) to homeless shelters, food pantries, veterans' clinics, relief efforts, and social service agencies.
"For over 30 years, I have knitted and crocheted, donating such items as scarves and blankets to different organizations," she says. "Initially, I was the only one crocheting and knitting sacks, purchasing the soap to fill them and then donating them. After reaching out to several local knitting and crocheting groups and explaining the S.A.C.K. mission, people began making soap sacks for me. I began getting emails from people all over the world asking if they could knit and crochet sacks and then donate them. S.A.C.K. has blossomed into a movement! Since I started S.A.C.K. in 2017, over 100,000 soap sacks have been distributed globally."
Last year, the group donated several hundred soap sacks to a church and a nonprofit entity that helps immigrants in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. "The soap sacks were distributed to migrant families and the tags that were attached to these soap sacks were in Spanish," says Wiener.
Courtesy of SoapSacks.com
During the coronavirus pandemic, S.A.C.K. also started donating the handmade soap sacks to frontline professionals in hospitals, clinics, and agencies as a way of thanking them for their heroic work. "Kindness puts hope in people," says Wiener. "During these uncertain times, soap sacks are filling a more important need than ever before."
The organization's mission is to extend kindness and compassion to others. “I never thought that combining my love of crocheting and knitting, with volunteering, would have such an impact on people," Wiener says, "but it truly has. Our volunteers are so incredibly passionate, and that, in turn, helps to inspire others." If you would like to support their mission — to help offset the cost of postage, yarn, and soap — you can make a donation through PayPal, or donate soap and yarn via the group's Amazon Wish List.
For more information, visit Soapsacks.com.