Member Spotlight – Abbey’s Handcrafted Soaps

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Soapmaking with a Cause – A Passionate Soapmaker’s Story

We are all familiar with the New Orleans flood but Kay Rose and her daughter, Abbey, have taken it personally. Still rebuilding and tearing down many homes, Abbey’s mission group was there right after Katrina hit. Experience came from their mission team helping build houses in Appalachia and Pedros Negros, Mexico similar to the Habitat for Humanity.

Upon arrival, the greatest need was food, clothing, and everyday supplies. They partially renovated a school enough to house volunteers and supplies. Next was the VERY hard work of clearing debris in the homes followed by gutting them. Kay and her husband along with a group from their church were right there helping. She said, “It was so sad to go into a home (like yours and mine) with a shovel removing debris as you went. Everything was covered with mud and oil and had heaped and dried that way. You saw children’s toys, family pictures and Bibles. There were rats, snakes, lizards, and huge cockroaches that surfaced as you tore out the walls and ceilings to the rafters and studs. Once in a while we would find something partially intact… a cross on the wall untouched. Special masks and gloves had to be worn. Hats should have been a requirement and I didn’t think of that until the cockroaches rained into my hair one day. Uck!”

Today, in New Orleans, there are still a few FEMA or camping trailers that people are begging to keep for longer while they try to earn enough to rebuild. Jobs are in demand in Chalmette, a suburb of New Orleans, where Abbey and her group are now living and planting a church. Several have taken part time jobs to help support their cause. Abbey, a Youth Minister/Christian Education graduate, is working double duty as a Children’s Coordinator for Team Expansion and the St. Bernard Parish Government trying to instill Christian/good moral values for kids that are growing up in the post-Katrina world of depression and poverty.

At first Kay donated soap, but to help raise the needed money to rebuild and minister to the people, she took her hobby of soapmaking into the business of Abbey’s Handcrafted Soaps She said, “I love making the soap and spa products and am so glad to have money to help with the mission.”

Kay is looking forward to attending the HSMG Conference again this year and learning a lot in order to sell more products to help the Team Expansion.  Her husband jokes that he pays for the trip and still doesn’t get to benefit from proceeds.  He is very supportive and has built molds, a great drying rack for the soaps, and the backdrop for the craft show booth.

Maria Gelnett
P&S Chair

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