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Soap Sales Aim to Give Domestic Abuse Survivors Fresh Start

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LEE COUNTY, N.C. — A small Lee County company wants to give you a clean start to your day and a fresh start to the lives of abuse survivors.

Gail Wade sells soap, but the abuse survivor said what she is really pushing is hope.

Wade and Vivan Christman are raising money and awareness by selling their soap in local stores.

"We rely on shopkeepers to put our product out, to talk about the project and raise the issue of the message," Christman said.

Christman launched the nonprofit company called Project Fresh Start six weeks ago. To keep overhead down, he makes the soap is his home. The operation started in the kitchen, moving into the living room, and even the bedrooms.

Christman said he is running out of space.

"There isn't any part of the house that isn't invaded," he said.

Also invading Christman's home are volunteers and abuse survivors who work for the nonprofit company earning a paycheck, and more importantly, confidence.

"It is important, so I can help my community and help people [who were] sexually assaulted and abused," said a worker.

They call it "Soap For Hope," and there is plenty of both in Christman's house. He has lofty goals for his young company, suggesting that someday this product will raise $100 million a year for abuse survivors.

"It seems like a ridiculous goal as you sit in my house and watch us make soap here, but even big dreams started as a small idea. That's what we havehere," he said.

Christman has invested $100,000 of his own money into the venture. The soap sells for $3.50 a bar, with half the money going to the store and half going back to the product and the survivors.

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