Cottage Grove

Area soap maker gives helping hand in effort to promote hand-washing

Local artisan and soap maker Tanesha Smelser, below, has been donating her traditional lye soap to anyone who is in need during the pandemic. Above, two bars of her variety of nearly 80 soap bars on hand.

COTTAGE GROVE – As the community does its best to keep as clean as possible, local soap maker Tanesha Smelser wants to make it easier for neighbors to have access to soap.
She is donating her traditional artisan Lady Lilith Artisan Lye soap to anyone in need. Smelser has 70-80 soap bars on hand.
”I have this overabundance and there’s a need,” Smelser said. So far, she has had around a dozen families reach out to her in need.
Giving back is important to her. She said she used to have issues paying for her son’s medication, when a nonprofit offered to help her pay for it.
”Someone who didn’t know me helped me and made sure my child had medication even if they didn’t know me, because they wanted a happy healthy family,” she said. ”It’s important that I should give that to other people, even if it’s just a $5 bar of soap.”
The giving has also worked both ways. A young man bought two soap bars for $30 because, ”he is still working and so many are not. He can’t help in this way but he can support the people who do,” Smelser explained.
”I’m pretty sure we’re heading into a substantial catastrophe and life isn’t going to be the same no matter how it goes, whether it’s a learning experience or we end up losing a lot of our community,” she said. ”In the grand scheme of things, the soap doesn’t really matter for me, but it’s the act of making sure everyone is healthy that does.”
Find Smelser on Facebook and Etsy @ LILITHandLYE.



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