Donda Mullis and Ronnie Shugar are using their “raw sugar” soap business to offer the homeless some dignity.
The Raw Sugar Living soap company will donate millions of bars of their organic specialty soap to organizations serving the homeless population of Los Angeles, California. Additionally, every bar of soap purchased will see a matched donation of their product toward the cause.
They started strong: The donation is the single biggest the S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank has ever seen. “These are much-needed items that, normally, agencies would have to buy themselves,” Director of Product Donations Jennifer Marquez said. “So, this is a very important donation.”
According to Mullis and Shugar, charitable work is core to their business philosophy. “Our want was to create a brand with a heart that connected consumers with a cause,” Mullis said. “A bar of soap, which we all take for granted, is probably the best thing you can have for someone of less fortunate means,” Shugar added.
Shugar sees the initiative as a stepping stone toward a better life for those in need. “If we can help inspire people to look for a better job, to feel better about themselves, to go to school with pride, this is just the first step,” he explained, while Mullis credited his upbringing as inspiration: “My mother always told me that we help ourselves by helping others,” he said.
Union Rescue Mission PR Coordinator Alexandra Monsibaez underscored the value of this seemingly simple gift. “Just because they’re experiencing homelessness doesn’t mean they don’t want to be clean,” she said:
[Homeless people] want the same things that we do when we’re living in our own place. We want to be able to shower. We want to be able to do regular things, and soap is one of those donations that is vital to what we do.
The Raw Sugar Living founders hope the efforts inspire others, as well. “We’re trying our best to give back,” Shugar said. “And maybe show people that being inspired and doing good, it rubs off, and you’ll have the next person who pays it forward.”