ATLANTA – When she is not working in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, Ashley Haas likes to volunteer in the community.
“When COVID hit it was very hard because a lot of the person-to-person opportunities just went away,” said Haas.
Instead, Haas said she came up with another way to give back while de-cluttering her bathroom.
“Honestly, this all started with me deciding to clean my house,” Haas explained. “[I] went under my sink and like many other people, I had tons and tons of beauty products and lotions and soaps that I just knew as one person I was never going to get through.”
Haas decided to donate the items to Wellspring Living, a non-profit that offers recovery services for survivors of sex trafficking, but not before asking her co-workers in the lab if they wanted to contribute.
“Within 24 hours I had bags, big bags of stuff at my desk that they too had just had sitting there and knew that someone else could use it for better. And then you know, it’s just kind of like a snowball where I said, ‘If I have stuff and they have stuff, everyone in this building probably has stuff.’ So, I asked, and they did not disappoint,” said Haas.
This past weekend, Haas loaded up her car with more than a dozen boxes and bags and delivered them to Wellspring Living.
“The faces that we got to see when our girls and our women received these donations was just priceless,” said Mary Frances Bowley, Wellspring Living’s executive director.
Bowley said the donation was especially meaningful coming from the GBI, which investigates trafficking cases and knows the terrible things the survivors have been through.
“This was really a gift of hope, like, ‘I want to see you enjoy beauty products. I see you as beautiful.’ That in itself is extremely meaningful because so many times you see the horror and you don’t even want to get close to it anymore and they’ve chosen to lean in and make a difference,” Bowley explained.
While Haas spearheaded the project, she said her colleagues made it a success.
“It wasn’t just me who made this happen. I was just the one who set it in motion, but the GBI showed up,” said Haas.