“If I had clean clothes people would treat me like a human being.”
In 2003, Laundry Love began in Ventura, California (between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, along the 101). It started from a conversation with a homeless man living in the area. All he wanted was to be treated normally, but because he could not afford to wash his clothes, people could not afford him the dignity he deserved.
Since the first load of laundry in 2003, there have been over 1.3 million loads of laundry and over 950,000 people served by Laundry Love. It has expanded into a network of over 30,000 laundromats across the United States.
Odds are… there’s a laundromat in your area that would be willing to work with you.
In San Antonio, Pastor Dave Murillo and St. Paul Lutheran Church started their own monthly Laundry Love event by asking their local laundromat, “What’s your slowest night of the week? Let us make it your busiest.”
St. Paul does not own the laundromat; it is not owned by a member of the congregation. They are an inner city church, with limited space. They didn’t need to build any new buildings; they just partnered with a local business that was already invested in the area. They built a relationship with the staff over time, and now the laundromat loves them because they are making money!
For St. Paul, it costs them around $500 per Laundry Love event. $100 goes towards pizza and drinks, the remaining $300-400 are for quarters. They only need 5-10 volunteers. That’s it. They are not charged to use the space.
If you don’t have a hip coffee shop in your area, I’d be willing to bet you have a laundromat. Pastor Dave described the monthly Laundry Love event as a “block party”. There’s food. There’s music and conversation. This is where the community gathers. Everyone needs to do laundry.
And there’s a chance to actually make someone’s life a little bit easier, by doing something simple, like laundry.
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of starting a Laundry Love event in your city, visit laundrylove.org. You can download a free guide to get started, as well as find other Laundry Love events happening in your area.