Good Sam parishioner Amy Crawford is involved in Laundry Love, an outreach ministry based out of the Episcopal Church. She has worked with a number of deacons in our diocese, including Dennis Coleman (who was an intern at Good Samaritan). After seeing the good work being done under Deacon Coleman in Pottstown and the bonds established between parishes and laundromat patrons, Amy was inspired to start a Laundry Love in Coatesville. She hopes to spread the word at Good Samaritan and find a team to work with her as a supporting parish for the Coatesville laundromats. But, let Amy tell her story:
What's the cost of a load of laundry? It's a question many of us don't think about - we simply haul a basket of clothes down to our basement, click a button, and then we continue on with our day.
"It costs me nearly $90 a month to do laundry for my family" said a tearful Mom I met a few months ago at a laundromat in Coatesville. "That's as much as I spend on groceries in a month. I often have to choose between groceries or clean clothes and, of course, I am going to choose food." For many families, a load of laundry is an exercise in spending time, money, and resources that are scarce.
This has wide-reaching implications - I know students in Coatesville who have been ashamed to go to school because their clothes aren't clean. I know families that have been plagued with lice and can't afford to keep doing laundry to get rid of it. Many adults struggle to find and hold jobs because of the hygiene issues that this can cause. After my conversation with this one woman, I asked around - and I was shocked to find out how many families this issue hits. A few teachers I spoke to told me that they have quietly been doing laundry for many students using the industrial machines at the school.
This inspired me to search for a way to bear some of the burden in Coatesville - and I found out that there is a simple way to do this. Throughout our diocese, churches have partnered with Laundry Love. Laundry Love is an Episcopal-based ministry that empowers a church to "adopt" a laundromat once a year, for a few hours, to provide free laundry services, as well as offering fellowship and prayer for those who show up at the laundromat. Serving others through Laundry Love carries the opportunity to bring Christ directly into the heart of a community, where people labor and linger.
If just 12 churches in an area adopt a laundromat, it means that every month there is free laundry being offered within the community. This is a small, inexpensive project that allows you to get hands-on within a neighborhood that needs it - costing anywhere from $300-$600, and a few hours to spend time and share Christ's love with families and individuals, making it an ideal project for a life group or small group of folks to get together and experience.
As well as groups willing to adopt a laundromat, we need supplies - laundry detergent pods, laundry sheets, and quarters for "laundry care kits" that we like to send home with families, as well as with students in the schools who may have the time but not the resources. I've gotten every Laundromat in Coatesville excited and on-board to host this project, as well as partnering with Chester County Food Bank to help identify families that are in need, and a number of churches as well - and I hope that there are some at Good Samaritan who would like to partner with us as we provide this much-needed service. Please reach out to me to hear more or learn how to participate! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 908-670-3250.
If anyone is interested in working with Amy in this "Personal Ministry" or just want more information about Laundry Love and the Coatesville initiative, please contact Amy. She's excited about this ministry and would love to share more about it. You can also learn more about Laundry Love on its national website.
Perhaps you, or a small group, has or is part of a Personal Ministry like Amy is. Periodically, the Missions Committee would like to highlight these ministries. Doing so might get more people involved in that specific ministry and could even stimulate others to consider ways to initiate their own Personal Ministry. To see about highlighting your ministry, please contact the Missions Committee chair, Keith Dodd email@example.com.