You Won’t Believe What We Did!

Lela Barker



Last week, I sounded a clarion call for help. As you may know, I’m heading back to Uganda to continue working with an orphanage I spent some time with over the summer. If this is all news to you, then I invite you to read the post about my summer trip and then this followup clarion call.


My goal was to raise $2,000 to fund 7,680 meals for 128 kids over the course of 20 days. Dream big, right? That sum would be enough to supplement the daily meal of porridge and rice+ beans with a cup of milk, a piece of fruit and 1 hard boiled egg for each and every child at the orphanage. When malnutrition is this rampant, those few nutritional bonuses each day can make a tremendous difference in the health and development of a child. I realize that these twenty days will not be a longterm solution to a much larger dilemma, but they would make for a lovely start.


So I sent a call out into the Universe, said a prayer, then posted it on Facebook and Twitter. What happened next was mind-blowing. The blog post was shared over and over again and you guys TOTALLY brought your A-game! I wish you all could have been in my home office when I first logged into Paypal to discover a flood of donations.  A simple “thank you” doesn’t seem sufficient to express my gratitude for your generosity. You all hit this one out of the park, to the tune of $7,178.  Whaaaaaat? I know, me too!


Kisses on the cheeks of these gracious donors:
Laura Luther of Olive My Skin
Kendra Cote of Amathia Soapworks
Chauncey Burns
Anonymous in Tennessee
Anonymous in Florida
Rachel Najera of Rachel’s Plan Bee
Amanda Griffin of the Lovin’ Soap Project
Michele Steinert of Michele’s Apothecary
Tricia Samundsen of Scentability
Karen Maloney
Sandria Marie of Brazen Cosmetics
Laura Noble
Mary Berry of Texas Beauty Labs
Marilyn Schendel of Ritual Waters
Jamie + Sara Kimball
Elizabeth Tonellis of Tonellas Bistro
Jeff + Pam Mason
Rachel Turner of Music City Suds
Angela Heitz of Angel Minaro
Anne-Marie Faiola of Brambleberry
Elizabeth Ross
Tammie Anderson of Tamara’s Professional Body Sugaring
Theresa aka the Tarot Lady
Kismet Andrews of Bar Maids
Brian + Dana Burns
Janis Emery of Pure Joy Soap Company
Tami Baum + Roxanne Wynn
Kimberly Quinby of Cierra Candles
Elea Lutz of Elea Lutz Design
Maggie Hanus of A Wild Soap Bar
Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium
Jennifer Hardaway of Klean Spa
Lily Sullivan
Karen Scott of Vangaleen’s Natural Potions
Dieshawn Holmes of Angelic Soaps & Gifts
Brooke Stant of Villainess
Vibha Makwana of AYU Sunless
Melissa Flick of Body Balms
Natalie Brown of Alternacirque
Starla Ledbetter of Roo Ranch
Kayla Fioravanti
Lisa Rodgers of Shoot Y’all Photography
Anonymous in Georgia
Joan Morais of Joan Morais Naturals
Danny + Donna Barker
Rita Cheng of YipeeBeBe
Melissa West of Print Therapy
Katie Cox
Stephanie Craig of Embodico
Nicki Wishnow of Wishnik Photography
Debbie Richards of Big Fat Soap
Ryanne of Safaa Naturals
Lisa Kennally of Lisa Ann Skincare
Stephanie McCourt
Kendal Turner of Bella Lucce
Shari Fowler of Iberian Inspirations
Cindy Sullivan
Jenna Cook Garcia
Robin Schmidt of Dragonfly Soap
Maia Singletary of Astrida Naturals
Chris Carney
David + Montie Grills
Cherish Driskell of Operation Soapbox
Donna Jordan
Alana Rivera of Etta + Billie
Anne Marie Esposito of Sparklefly Candle Company
Christopher Rioux of Stink Good Clean Fun
Alyssa Middleton of Bath & Body Academy
Christy Rose of KB Shimmer
Stacia Guzzo of Tehacha Bee Farm
Gary + Adele Glasser
Donna Maria Coles Johnson of Indie Beauty Network




Donations poured in from $10 to $300 and I am grateful for every last one. My Fedex rep, my parents, neighbors in my childhood hometown, current students, former students, people in my creative community, in my trade groups, in my neighborhood, old friends from high school and people I’ve never met… wow, just wow. More kisses on the cheeks of all those who helped spread the word through their networks and those who  said a prayer/sent good juju to my Ugandan wee ones. We blew past that $2,000 goal in less than 24 hours, but I assure you that there’s no shortage of need at this facility. I’m not certain precisely how I’ll spend the surplus of $4500+, but I promise to keep you posted. My mind wanders to thoughts of malaria nets and hospital treatment for the sickest among them, but I’ll assess the situation once I get on the ground.  Stay tuned to this blog for updates + pictures from the journey. I owe each of you a cocktail when I see you and I expect you to call me on it! Thank you, thank you, thank your for your compassion + generosity.




If I could request one more favor (I know, I’m getting pretty ballsy about that lately, aren’t I?) it would  be a request for your warm thoughts and prayers for this journey. Specifically:

1. That a path to stability + security for these children will soon be illuminated

2. That they will be immersed in love + filled with hope during the next 20 days and beyond

3. That I’ll be protected both mentally + physically during this journey


I’m heading to NYC today for the SoapMasters event, but the journey to Uganda starts this Tuesday. I’ll be posting “thank you” pictures from Uganda as I’m able and providing updates to donors via email. Your love + well wishes for these kids will travel all 7,500 miles from New York to Uganda! Here goes nothing…


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead


About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

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