project leader
Dena M
location
James Street
(Northside of Pittsburgh)
latest update rss
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the project

In April of 2018, my husband Bob and I were serving at a local mission doing a monthly chapel service. After several years at it, we felt called to do more and started to listen carefully for other opportunities. One day while on social media, I came across a show called Returning the Favor, where the host found people doing good things and helped to "return the favor" by providing resources to keep on doing that good thing. He visited a young woman who had begun providing 2 hours of laundry service to local folks in need. And I heard. And I pondered. And began asking questions. Would this be something Bob and I could do to serve the same community of men that we served at the shelter? Could we actually do it? Was it even something that was useful or helpful? We asked staff at the shelter, the men in chapel, and even contacted the young woman featured on the show and it turns out that this was a genuine need in our community. And it could be a relatively simple thing to try out.

We got in touch with the owner of the closest local laundromat and he generously agreed to let us give it a try. Our first Wash Party was August 2018. That first Saturday morning was an experiment. We served 5 or 6 men from the local shelter and it was a really great way to spend a Saturday morning! We left knowing that whatever this was, we would keep doing it. Somehow, we had turned a mundane and repetitive housekeeping chore into something we could laugh and smile and have fun doing. So we planned another Saturday and began providing handwritten flyers to the two local missions to make available during their street outreach and at their daily community meals and month after month the number of people that we could serve grew.

We now serve between 15 and 20 people each month and have practically reached the capacity of the laundromat for those two hours. We have had many volunteers serve with us and because of that participation, have been able to provide additional resources like healthy snack food and clothing for those that need it. 

But there is something bigger going on here than just clean clothes. For everyone involved, we are making connections for those two hours. Reminding ourselves and the guests we serve that in spite of this messy world, we can deeply and honestly care about each other in a real and practical way. We are building relationships. Staff at the laundromat, volunteers, guests alike are reminded that loving and caring for other people is simple if not easy. In doing laundry together, we are sharing life together. Our worlds and our needs may be different but for two hours on one Saturday morning a month, we ALL have everything we need.

We invite all of you to take part in this.

 

the steps

Every month on the second Saturday we will provide quarters and laundry supplies to anyone in need of assistance at the laundromat.

Each month we will have new socks and underwear available to serve anyone in need to the best of our ability.

Each month we will provide healthy snacks for the two hours we are at the laundromat and healthy portable snacks to take with them.

During the winter months we will have available coats, warm clothes, and hand warmers to serve anyone in need to the best of our ability.

Simply asking for help will be enough. We will never make anyone prove that they are in need. We will never refuse to help anyone in the above ways.

 

why we're doing it

It's so easy to take for granted the dignity of clean clothes. It's also quite easy to overlook the cost and difficulty of using a laundromat. How many of us had a broken washer or dryer and bemoaned the inconvenience of lugging a load of laundry to a laundromat even temporarily? If my clothes come out of a drawer or bag balled up and smelling like yesterday's dinner, I can feel the difference. I worry that I might draw attention because of the smell or the wrinkles. It might seem a small thing, but clean folded clothes can make a person feel worthy and whole that's worth the handful of quarters it takes to provide that. We can't solve the world's problems but this is something I can do. Something we can do together. And sharing this with our donors and supporters helps to convey the message that humanity and compassion is accesible and doesn't have to be complicated.

budget

We serve between 10-20 individuals each month at the laundromat and we spend an average of $10-15 for each person's use of washers and dryers and laundry supplies. That amounts to  $225-250/month to provide this service to those that come to the laundromat.

We also provide hats, gloves, some clothing, heavy socks and coats during the winter months and socks and some clothing during the warmer months of the year. - $600 - $50.month

 



PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED = $3,600
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $198
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $119
TOTAL TO RAISE = $3,951

updates

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photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • GaryB
  • Sue Crary
  • Dena and Bob
  • Carol B
  • Judy Clack