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“Everyone Has a Story” – Bangor Man makes soap for the poor

82-year-old Dennis Wood was quite the adventurer…hiking, hunting and exploring in countries all over the world. 

Wood said the hardest part of his travel though was seeing how poor people are in other countries and how much is wasted in the United States.

Wood grew up during the Depression.  He was born in a garage with cardboard lining it’s walls to keep his family warm.  Wood credits his humble beginnings for his work ethic and appreciation for the life he lives now.

"I’m one of the luckiest guys on the planet. I’ve had an awesome life and I can give back a bit," said Wood.

Seeing all the unused soap and shampoo in hotels around the country, Wood came up with the idea to collect the unused items and repackage them for the poor in other parts of the world and for food pantries and shelters in Wisconsin.

Wood puts in about 20 hours a week to clean, melt and reshape old soaps and gather unused lotions and shampoos.  Despite his aches and pains he says he will keep doing this because there is such a great need for it.

"I’ve handed out bars of soap out in the middle of the jungle in New Guinea. You would think you are handing somebody a treasure.  I mean these ladies don’t have anything to wash their kids. or themselves with. They don’t have it," said Wood.

Wood has handed out 150,000 soaps so far and has no intention of slowing down.

"I enjoy doing it. Some of it gets a little boring but now I’ve got it started and it’s got me I think. I can’t just stop.  People depend on it," said Wood.

Wood is a member of the Sparta Kiwanis Club and his goal is to get at least one club in each state to make soap for the poor, even if it means buying them their own soap starter kit.


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