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An Eastern Shore soap-making business that had to suspend operations due to a fire late last month is asking the public to help with the charitable donations it would normally make at this time of year.
The Soap Company of Nova Scotia Ltd. usually donates $1,000 worth of products to the Sherbrooke Food Bank and Help from the Heart, a local organization that puts together hygiene bags for people in need, but they're unable to this year because of the fire.
"I was lying in bed and I was waking up and thought, 'Hang on, it's December now and we're supposed to be shipping these products out and we don't have them to ship,'" said Leigh McFarlane, the founder and CEO.
"And that is when I decided this is perhaps another layer to how we can help."
Some of the items needed include deodorant, soap, shampoo, laundry, cleaning products and razors. The organizations could also use money, McFarlane said.
"Whatever you can do can really really help because there's a gap and we want to see that gap filled," McFarlane said.
Amy Miller, founder and CEO of Help from the Heart, said she wasn't even thinking about the loss of donations because of the fire.
"I was more worried about the fact they were losing everything because they donate out of the kindness of their heart to my organization and I immediately thought of them," Miller said. "I never even thought of the donations they give me."
The soap company usually donated every three to four months, Miller said. The donation usually consisted of 50 bars of soap, 50 to 60 tubs of lotion, laundry soaps and sunscreen.
Miller said she thinks it's "awesome" the company is reaching out to the public to make up for the donation it can't make this year.
"[McFarlane] is more worried about helping others than about helping herself and that shows how kindhearted she is," Miller said.
McFarlane said she's ready to get back to making soap. She put in an order for ingredients and plans to start up again this week. The company has a line it hopes to start shipping in January.
"The business didn't burn down, McFarlane said. "The operation and my home burned down. We know what we're doing and we're going to rebuild it.
"We have our recipes, we have our knowledge and that didn't get taken away. And so we are going to continue on."
Photo caption: Leigh McFarlane and her daughter, Anna Muise. McFarlane had a fire at her soap-making business on the Eastern Shore earlier this year and can't make the charitable donations she normally would. She's asking the public to remember those groups this holiday season. (The Soap Company of Nova Scotia Ltd./Facebook)