April 14, 2017

Once a quarter, the resident services staff at Dolly Ann Apartments in Covington, Va. teams up with Covington Baptist Church to offer residents a non-food pantry called the Soap Shoppe. Items offered include cleaning and laundry supplies, and personal hygiene and baby products. Each household is given a base amount of points to shop with, and also has the opportunity to earn extra points throughout the quarter by volunteering and participating in events.

When asked why she chose to establish a non-food pantry, Resident Services Coordinator Sara Hoke replied, “Well, it’s simple. There already are various food banks and pantries in the area, plus many of our residents receive food benefits from the Department of Social Services. We decided we could help folks out with things no one else offers and that their benefits don’t cover in the grocery store, which is why we started the Soap Shoppe. Everyone needs the staple items for cleaning and self-care, but the items can be expensive and sometimes our residents can’t afford them.”

Covington Baptist Church donates the items for the pantry and offers year-round storage for the items as well. They also provide volunteers to run the Shoppe.

“I think the Soap Shoppe is a great thing for people like myself that are on a fixed income. Cleaning supplies and hygiene items are real expensive and it’s wonderful that this program is available to us. It helps a lot and I also appreciate all the effort put into the pantry by Sara and Covington Baptist Church,” said resident JoEllen Smith.

Added another resident, Haley Herstine, “It makes you feel good about yourself to be able to earn the things you need for your home. Because I get to earn my stuff, I don’t feel like a charity case.”