FAIRFIELD — It’s not often one walks into a transmission shop and gets a good whiff of Irish Spring bath soap.
“That’s a fragrant little corner over there,” said Steve Bellamy, owner of EDCO Transmission on North Texas Street.
That little corner is home to buckets of bar soap that is shipped off to Clean the World, with headquarters in Orlando, Fla. Used bars of soap are recycled and shipped along with new bars to impoverished people in the United States and developing countries.
Bellamy’s late wife Sandy Bellamy began collecting soap donations in 2010. She died in 2011. Their daughters Holly Bellamy, Jill Russell and Stephanie Russell and granddaughter-in-law Laura Bellamy continue the tradition.
Clean the World Foundation was founded in February 2009, according to the group’s website. The mission is to collect and recycle soap and bottled amenities discarded by the hospitality industry.
The World Health Organization, according to the Clean the World Foundation, believes one-third of diseases that kill children younger than 5 could be prevented by hand washing with bar soap.
Collecting the soap meant the world to her mom, Holly Bellamy said.
“She raised us to be mindful of others,” she said.
When the buckets get full, the Bellamys box them up and send them to Florida. They’ve learned to utilize the U.S. Postal Service’s flat rate mailboxes to save on costs.
Stephanie Bellamy also collects soap donations at her business, Bella Terra, in Vacaville. Laura Bellamy also brought home hotel soaps when she traveled for work.
Steve Bellamy estimated the family has sent more than 75 boxes over the years. Each was filled with soap, some about the size of half dollars, secured in a small plastic bag. He’s amazed that people can keep such a small size in their hand while bathing.
Those who attended Sandy Bellamy’s funeral were asked to bring a bar of soap for Clean the World.
“There were piles of soap,” Holly Bellamy said.
Clean the World has changed the way the family looks at soap. Remnants are now put aside for donation. Co-workers and friends do the same.
Steve Bellamy switched his bath soap brand after smelling various ones. He liked one made by Dove but felt he was “too manly to try it,” he said, joking.
“It brings out the Irish brogue (in him),” Holly Bellamy said about her father’s soap choice.
Hannah Bellamy, Laura Bellamy’s 15-month-old daughter, is getting an introduction to the family affair.
“I remember when Sandy started it,” Laura Bellamy said. “The entire family room was full of soap.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.