We can’t help but be impressed by those dedicated to helping others - especially at a time when rising living costs are really biting.
So, of course we said “Yes” when two truly inspiring charities - the Coffs Harbour-based Happy Boxes Project and The Salvation Army's Project 614 in Melbourne - reached out for support.
Read on to discover why we love them (and why we think you will too):
When it comes to heartwarming volunteer initiatives, there are few as special as the Happy Boxes Project, spreading joy and kindness to women living in Australia’s most remote corners in a simple but very meaningful way.
Headed up by school teacher Emma Sullings, a team of tireless workers collects, packages and distributes thousands of free, desperately-needed “Happy Boxes” of soap, shampoo and deodorant each year.
When Australian Botanical Soap learned about the difference the project was making to so many lives, we were thrilled to be able to jump on board. Now and into the future, each Happy Box will contain at least one of our soap bars. In fact, we’ve committed to a minimum annual donation of 2,000 bars.
“Women in our own backyard are going without basic toiletries,” says Emma. “Getting access to simple items is challenging when the nearest store is sometimes up to 1000 kilometres away.”
“Our aim is to provide women - regardless of their location and situation - with the little luxuries of life we all take for granted.”
Another big delivery has just gone to remote communities surrounding Katherine in the Northern Territory, with a further 350 Happy Boxes about to make their way to Arnhem Land. Approximately 70 communities stretching from the Top End to Ceduna in South Australia will receive a shipment of assorted goodies from the project this year.
According to Emma, pictured above, the project has taken on a “life of its own” since starting seven years ago.
Evolving from a youth wellbeing group under Emma’s charge, the term “Happy Boxes” originally referred to a stash of pamper products that teenage girls living in isolated locations could call their own. In some cases, it was the only thing they could really call their own.
Initially, Emma reached out to friends and relatives to help stock these Happy Boxes, but as people learned about the project she was overwhelmed with donations from all over Australia.
“I don’t think many Australians realise how hard it is for people living in remote Aboriginal communities to access food, let alone toiletries,” she says. “In some of these communities, two litres of milk can cost nearly $9."
“In a recent survey we conducted with 48 project coordinators in some of these communities, 70 percent claim that more often than not, women are going without access to toiletries and sanitary items. This is completely unacceptable.”
Emma says she’s “stoked” to have formed a partnership with Australian Botanical Soap. “It’s such a good fit and ties in with what we want to achieve,” she says.
“The gorgeous smell of the soaps alone makes them seem so luxurious. Everyone who picks them up admires them.
“They’ve also become renowned for their versatility – at times being used as a shampoo, laundry powder and even a dog wash."
“It’s wonderful when something so simple can really make someone’s day.”
Let’s face it – Australia’s surging cost of living is hitting people from all walks of life.
The Salvation Army’s Project 614 in the Melbourne CBD’s Bourke St is right at the coal face, bracing itself for a “crisis” of families needing a helping hand in the next 12 to 24 months.
Hundreds of volunteers come together in a range of ways to ensure people in need have access to a dry and warm place day or night, a hot meal or coffee, counselling and clothing as well as help to get back on their feet.
Again, Australian Botanical Soap is humbled by the opportunity to play a part. We donate soap bars to the centre, which distributes hundreds of emergency relief parcels and provides hot showers for up to 75 people each week.
According to the Salvos’ Tameka Buckley: “With both of these things, the soap donated by Australian Botanical Soap is greatly appreciated.
“They’re not just a bar of soap but a quality product that feels luxurious. This lets people who are going through hard times know that they’re respected and valued. For us, that helps to build a connection and relationship. That’s really powerful.”
For Tameka and the crew at Project 614, this is the second recent big wave of families doing it tough.
“Unfortunately what we’re seeing right now follows hot on the heels of people displaced during the pandemic,” she says. “It has been a tough couple of years and we fear that the next two are going to be just as testing.”