The Laundry Love ministry is coming to Racine, and Hospitality Center Director Rev. Kevin Stewart wants the entire community excited and involved.
“We want people to know this is a community effort and we want everyone involved,” he said. “We want people excited about this new opportunity to serve, and I want people to give me a call to get involved.”
Started about 10 years ago in California by the Episcopal Church, Laundry Love has spread to cities across the country. In short, it is a movement to further lift up an area’s homeless by providing something most of us take for granted; clean clothes.
Here in Wisconsin, Stewart’s program, he said, may very well be the first of its kind, and it has found a home at Velvet Touch Laundromat, 2027 Lathrop Avenue. Stewart said Laundry Love in Racine is a natural extension of what the Hospitality Center is all about; building relationships and lending a helping hand.
“We got excited when we saw the video and felt this was a new, organic direction for us,” Stewart explained. “Building relationships and putting out a helping hand, volunteer driven and community-oriented, that’s who we are.”
He approached Velvet Touch, he said, because owner Kenneth Kim believes in helping out.
“Kenneth is a very community-focused man, and he has a great facility,” Steward stated.
Laundry Love officially begins at 5 p.m. Tues., Oct. 14 at Velvet Touch with volunteers providing the, friendship, snacks, detergent, dryer sheets and quarters needed to wash as many loads of laundry as possible for those who need it.
In the video attached to this story, Laundry Love in Venice Beach, CA, goes through about $600 for around 100 loads of laundry. Stewart said a load at Velvet Touch will run between $4 and $5, and he estimates his program will need right around that same amount – $600 – as well.
For now, the program is scheduled for once every other month, but Stewart said supporters are already working on on building it to once a month. He said he is hoping for “excitement, engagement and support from individuals and groups.”
There are some potential partnerships and philanthropic contributions under development, but he needs people to help get the word out.
“People can help by spreading the word, donating, volunteering and contributing supplies,” Stewart added.
The story of Laundry Love is believed to have begun with a man in Ventura, CA, who wondered if people would treat him differently if he had clean clothes, a program overview reads. Here in Racine, Stewart said Laundry Love is starting because a woman named Cassandra at the Hospitality Center worried about sending her children to school in dirty clothes.
“We just have to do this if for no other reason than Cassandra,” he added. “It’s really just about doing it, like we did with the Hospitality Center three years ago, and I invite everyone to join us on this journey.”
For more information about Laundry Love and/or the Hospitality Center, contact Stewart at (414) 405-5619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.