Though most of us detest Saturdays spent washing and folding, one mom knows that for those who go without, laundry can truly be a luxury.
Close to 70 people came to a London, Ontario laundromat last month to do three hours worth of laundry -- for free. For the Love of Laundry, a social good startup based in London, has been hosting the events since 2014 to help families in need.
Melissa Power, a formerly single mother who once had difficulty affording basic needs like clean clothes, founded the organization. “I had a hard time making ends meet, so certain "luxuries" often had to wait, and laundry fell into that "luxury" category.” Power told The Huffington Post in an email. “Fast forward many years later, that memory never went away. I wanted to help others in that same situation.”
The project started when Power began making her own natural laundry soap, to help her family save money. Whenever she had a surplus of the soap, she would donate to social service agencies. “But I soon came to realize that if you can't afford to go to the laundromat, having free laundry soap doesn't make any sense,” she told HuffPost. So, she started selling her product to local grocery stores, and from those proceeds, began paying local laundromats to allow people in need to use their machines for free.
"One mom told me that with the money she saved, she can finally take her kids out for dinner, something she's never been able to do before," Power said.
Not only do clients of Power’s program receive clean clothes and save money, but they build a sense of community. In the hours spent waiting for clothes to wash and dry, people get to know each other and share stories. “We see people helping other people carry their laundry bags in, or helping them get it all out of a taxi,” Power said. “We aren't the only ones helping.”
Currently, For the Love of Laundry events take place exclusively in London, but Power hopes with additional funding, the program with expand to other cities.