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A Clean Start 


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Next time you crawl out of your cozy, warm bed to groggily climb into the shower, don't take it for granted. The first-world luxury of hot, running water, soap and shampoo isn't something everyone has access to — a fact easy to overlook by those who do. That's why the Washington and North Idaho travel and insurance offices of AAA are once again teaming up to host the eighth annual Soap for Hope toiletries drive, collecting donated hygiene products to distribute to community nonprofits that will benefit most.

"A lot of our clients come home from vacation with shampoo and conditioner from hotels, and it's easy to let that stack up, and then you eventually throw them away," explains AAA Washington spokesperson Jennifer Cook. "So we thought, 'Why don't we use those for good?'"

Thus Soap for Hope was born, with all AAA offices across the region — including two in Spokane and one in Coeur d'Alene — helping collect donations. The annual drive started in November, and runs through the end of the year.

Locally, the donated items are distributed to the women's shelters operated by Transitions and the Volunteers of America Hope House for women. Cook says that on average, the Spokane offices gather 4,500 individual items through the drive.

"It seems really trivial, but it's more helpful to someone worrying about putting food on the table and having a roof over their head — it's one less thing they have to think about or spend money on," Cook says.

Donations to Soap for Hope aren't limited to travel-size hotel samples — the agency accepts all new and unopened products, including body soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, razors, lotion, dental-care items and feminine hygiene products.

Drop off donations before Dec. 31 during business hours at AAA offices, located at 1314 S. Grand and 7307 N. Division, Suite 103, in Spokane, and at 296 W. Sunset Ave., Suite 33, in Coeur d'Alene. More information at

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