Fayetteville, NY | 15
2014 Award Recipient
Adena Rochelson first volunteered at a food pantry while in fourth grade. An empty shelf at the food pantry intended for toiletries and household products caught her attention and led her to ask questions. Adena learned that because government assistance programs do not cover the cost of these items, many families often had to go without them. To address this mismatch between need and access, Adena launched Operation Soap Dish to provide low-income individuals and families with the everyday essentials most of us take for granted. Since 2009, Adena has cultivated a network to collect items from across 15 states in the U.S., as well as in Canada and Israel. Through this effort, Adena has succeeded in distributing more than 20,000 toiletry and household cleaning products, valued at over $60,000, to families in her community and beyond. A passionate advocate, Adena campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of how these everyday items can impact the quality of life of people living at or below the poverty line. Adena’s most recent venture cultivated a passion for volunteering among local second graders through an educational program that culminated in a “soap box derby” to benefit Operation Soap Dish. More than 1,600 people benefit from Operation Soap Dish each month, and Adena plans to expand to more communities in the U.S. and developing countries.