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Hastings soapmaker makes global impact
One bar of soap at a time, a local Hastings business makes organic soap to help save lives. It started off as a hobby, for one man and it's flourished into something much greater.
It was two years ago Andrew Vrbas studied abroad in Peru and returned to the states ready to embark on a mission.
"I was a school teacher for a school in a village and the children didn't have the greatest hygienic practices," said Vrbas.
A native of Kansas and alum of Hastings College, giving back started off as a hobby in his apartment.
"Bought all the books I could find and started reading about soap making, chemistry everything, trying to study how I can make a product in some way," Vrbas said.
In the basement of this red building in downtown Hastings the aromas of Pacha Soap illuminate.
"Our slogan is earth captured in a bar. 85% organic, we use plant, essential oils to scent the soap. We use plant, roots, spices to color it and give it texture," said Vrbas.
Everything is made by hand, each bar of soap and even the equipment for the process.
For every bar purchased, one is given to someone in need. Meet the Pacha Mama's who help make the initiative possible.
"We sell here in Hastings at the Back Alley Bakery in downtown," said Abi Burrows.
"Here in Hastings for every bar that is sold we give a bar to the Crossroads Mission," Laura Bernero said.
"The amazing thing about Pacha soap is we're not only trying to better the local economy, but also the global scale as well," said Mandy Mackrill.
A component of Pacha Soap's "raise the bar" campaign.
"We've already started giving away some bars in Guatemala and Peru," said Burrows.
For every hand crafted bar there's a deeper meaning.
"Trying to connect the American consumer so that they know that with a purchase, if they purchase this product they're helping someone in need maybe thousands miles away," said Burrows.
Pacha Soap is also sold in three other states at select retail outlets in Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.
Bars can be purchased for $6.
You can visit PachaSoap.com for more information.
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