“If I had clean clothes, I think people would treat me like a human being.” With this statement the nationwide movement called “LAUNDRY LOVE” was launched in southern California in 2004. To date 450,000 people have been cared for and 600,000 loads of laundry have been done.
The idea is simple yet profound: To provide quarters for a local laundromat while sharing conversation and homemade soup with folks for whom the cost of clean clothes is unaffordable. Many of the regular guests are without a home and are deeply appreciative of this act of kindness. Says Kate W, “This is awesome because it’s so expensive to wash clothes. It feels like community here…It’s a family feeling.”
In Ashland, Oregon First Congregational United Church of Christ (“UCC”) practices “laundry love” the second Saturday of each month. Volunteers have found that the $500 monthly investment from collecting quarters from church members, epitomizes love and compassion in action. Says church volunteer Alex Reid, “It levels the playing field. We have great conversations with women folding their clothing…We talk about life, marriage, how to raise children, who you’re voting for. They’re very grateful. I’ve had people give me their last crumpled-up dollar and tell me to pass it to the next person.” (excerpted from Ashland Daily Tidings, October 17, 2016, page 3).
When I use the washer and dryer in my garage I am even more grateful for the luxury of clean clothes and towels, and happy when a neighbor or friend borrows my washer and dryer. “Laundry love” indeed! For more information and inspiration: laundrylove.org
What not-so-random act of kindness inspires you today? “Since you get more joy out of giving to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.” Eleanor Roosevelt