FAMU student spreads hope with a clean initiative: “Soap for Hope”

Sharad Shabazz and line brother donating to the Kearney
Center in Tallahassee. | Photo credit:Sharad Shabazz

Florida A&M University (FAMU) student-athletes are striving to make a difference in the Tallahassee community through one initiative called “Soap for Hope.”  

Soap for Hope is an initiative created by Sharard Shabazz to engage student-athletes in community service and volunteerism. Shabazz is a senior Health Science Physical Education student and former FAMU football player.

The initiative was created as a spin on Sealed Air’s Soap for HopeTM program. Sealed Air’s program is a charity that recycle old soap to donate, unlike Shabazz’s initiative that asks for soap that has not been used.

While traveling for games, the Soap for Hope initiative asks athletes to collect unused soap and other complementary items from hotel bathrooms to be stored and distributed to those in need in the Tallahassee area.

“It was an initiative to get a lot of people involved. Not only for the athletes who care but the university that cares,” Shabazz said.

Soap for Hope is run through the FAMU Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), who’s mission is to enhance the student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image.

Ashley Ivery is a SAAC graduate monitor who said that community involvement is not necessarily a hands on activity, but can be actively giving to people who do not have access to everyday essentials like soap.

“One of the ways we fulfil this is through community involvement,” Ivery said. “Sometimes that involvement does not necessarily mean being hands on, but what you can pick up and retrieve with your hands, for those that do not have the opportunity to receive. An example is with our Soap for Hope campaign.”

The initiative has been carried out through the entire FAMU athletics department. It has also been considered as one of FAMU SAAC’s most successful programs.

“Engaging in Soap for Hope has helped to increase social awareness and responsibility onto our athletic community potentially building the likeliness to do more in the future,” Ivery continued.

Sharard, who is a 2017 initiate of the Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, expanded the initiative to the men of Beta Nu.

Dock Luckie III, who is also a 2017 initiate of the Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, said helping with Soap for Hope is another act of service for the men of the fraternity.

“We decided to get on board because we are active in the community already and always trying to find ways to continue to impact the community. It is another thing we can do to help out.” Luckie III said.

The initiative has also expanded to the aid of SAAC at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). NCCU has sent four boxes of clothes for the second donation collection in December.

Toiletries, shoes, clothes, and nonperishable items can also be donated in support of Soap for Hope. Each delivery of donations at FAMU is documented for all athletes and committee members.

The next collection drive will be on Saturday, Feb. 17. All donations are welcome to be dropped off at the Gaither Gymnasium complex and all organizations are being asked to participate.