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Laundry Love begins Tuesday, and Rev. Kevin Stewart is looking forward to an evening of fellowship, food and lots of clean clothes.

In short, Laundry Love helps homeless residents wash their clothes, a task most citizens take for granted.

This new ministry from the Hospitality Center is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and will operate out of Velvet Touch Laundromat, 2027 Lathrop Avenue, every other month. Stewart said the goal is to bring members of the community together in a new way that not just blurs the stigma of homelessness, but creates connections.

“Laundry Love is about building community one load at a time,” he explained.

Stewart has been collecting donations of laundry soap, bleach, dryer sheets and quarters at The Hospitality Center, and volunteers are also stepping up in big numbers.

“It’s going to be organized chaos, but we’ll have a blast,” he laughed. “I’m really excited to launch this effort. It’s all about friendship, soap, and quarters.”

Based on the Laundry Love program in Venice, CA, he estimates he’ll need about $500 per month, and Stewart hopes congregations, groups and area organizations will come forward to sponsor dates so the program can take place every month.

“Right now we are committed to every other month, but we’re dreaming big,” he added. “We’re hoping for every month or even more often if possible.”

Laundry Love runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Velvet Touch. To donate supplies – soap, bleach, dryer sheets and/or money – or to contribute refreshments, either drop them off at The Hospitality Center or visit Velvet Touch on Tuesday. Stewart can be reached at (414) 405-5619.

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