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Soap for Hope Canada’s Victoria warehouse faces increasing demand with war in Ukraine

Vancouver Island-based non-profit benefits local residents, international causes

On any given day a variety of needs arrive on the doorstep of Soap for Hope Canada.

A couple of weeks ago, prepped for a quiet Friday at the Victoria office, executive director Anne McIntyre was reminded of the need to always be ready, and they were, fulfilling a sudden demand for hygiene kits and linen for 500 people. All of which needed to be in Vancouver by Monday for distribution to families coming from Ukraine.

“When you get calls like that they go to the top of the list,” she said.

READ ALSO: Miracle container, filled with supplies by Esquimalt charity, survives Beirut blast

When something like the Russian invasion of Ukraine occurs it always boosts the need on an international scale, McIntyre said. Soap for Hope staff immediately started the appeal knowing the need would come with war. They also helped fill recent containers headed from the Esquimalt-based Compassionate Resource Warehouse to Poland in aid of those fleeing Ukraine.

The call for 500 kits came from United Way Lower Mainland, just one among the myriad of organizations that call on the Victoria charity for aid. Staff there have fulfilled orders for the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary and the Ukrainian Safe Haven in East Sooke – a former resort that aims to house 100 people.

READ ALSO: Sooke quilters sew warm welcome for Ukrainian refugees

The early donations are handy now as refugees land in Canada with nothing – on top of the local need.

In the Capital Region, Soap for Hope Canada supports 97 facilities from elementary schools to senior centres and everything between.

On May 16 the team sorted six orders, with St. John the Divine dropping by seeking 100 kits for area residents. Soap for Hope Canada saw a 174 per cent surge in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

McIntyre doesn’t focus on what’s missing, they just fill the need with what’s at hand. That day, and for several days, there was simply no feminine deodorant in stock. So kits went without.

“Our main focus should be getting product out the door,” McIntyre said.

READ ALSO: Soap for Hope Canada celebrates 174% surge in demand, related growth

She does, however, track unfulfilled orders in a bid to understand where they need to grow. For example, last year they were short 16,000 toothbrushes.

The organization sees Island-wide support of product donations. Someone from Port Alberni recently collected a truckload and drove it down to Victoria, and a Nanaimo fellow has been by with donations three times in recent weeks.

Donate lightly used soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash products and clean family-sized shampoo and lotion bottles (for them to refill), on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the warehouse, 426b William St.

Items can also be dropped off at any of Black Press Media’s Greater Victoria offices.

The non-profit can stretch cash donations and use them to fill voids. Donate at

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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