Making an impact

Soap shop turned charity


On a bright summer day that would typically lend itself to a trip to the lake or an ice cream run, April Burns spent Saturday, June 15 doing something quite different. Burns, accompanied by a trio of helpers, spent her time handing out free hygiene products to neighbors in need.

A small table piled high with toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, Narcan and more greeted passersby under the shade of a large tree in Sylvian Park. Burns set up her mobile soap station during a “Pack the Park” event hosted by the Paris Park Board, and frequently offers her free items at other events throughout the community.

Burns can also be found at the Paris Public Library on the fourth Tuesday of each month, where she serves an average of 15 families.

“Oftentimes it’s homeless or chronically low-income families,” Burns said.

Regardless of someone’s situation, Burns and her helpers, Ronan Burns, Leo Burns and Salem Ross, are ready to help and do so without scrutinizing a patron’s past. Preserving confidentiality for each recipient makes for an easier experience on both sides of the table, according to Burns.

“We’re not going to grill them over their situation,” she said, adding, “They (helpers and recipients) are both neighbors. We’re just sharing what we have.”

Burns conducts her sharing through the Sage and Prim Community Support Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity she founded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her previous venture, Sage and Prim, was a soap business.

“Before I started doing non-profit work I had a soap business,” she said.

As quarantine regulations reached their height and the pandemic wore on, Burns saw a need for what she sold in her store. Low-income households that already struggled to afford necessities like hygiene products were trapped without access to basic provisions.

Burns jumped into action, leaving boxes of soap and hygiene products in easily accessible locations.

“I just started giving it away…and it just snowballed from there,” she explained.

Much of Burns’ mission is fueled by the philanthropy of friends and others throughout the community.

“We’re always open to taking donations,” Burns said. “We always need volunteers.”

The Sage and Prim Community Support Foundation has an Amazon wishlist for those who want to contribute items to the cause. For anyone interested in volunteering with Burns, or simply staying up to date on her whereabouts, visit or follow the Sage and Prim Community Support Foundation on Facebook.

If you know a local person, group or organization enacting positive change in Edgar County, nominate them for a spot in The Prairie Press’ “Making an Impact” series. Check out the Prairie Press Facebook page for more information.

April Burns, hygiene products, charity