Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action — Loving through Laundry
Laundry! That’s something most of us are not crazy about, right? It’s one of those mundane chores that we typically dread. But, what if you didn’t have a washer and dryer? Or, what if you didn’t even have the money to wash your clothes at a laundromat? Sadly, it is the people in high-density, blue-collar, ethnically-diverse areas who are most dependent on laundromats. With average costs around $2 per wash and dry, a family with four loads of wash per week would spend $16 per week or $64 per month. For low-income families that’s a big chunk of change! So, what can we do to help? Enter “Loads of Love” as implemented by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Russellville, Arkansas.
The concept behind “Loads of Love” is simple. Find a laundromat that will let your church team come once a month and pay for the clients’ laundry. At St John’s, the team selected the last Saturday of the month since that’s when people tend to be crunched for cash. They serve from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM or until the allotment of quarters ($300 per month) runs out. They also provide a free lunch which normally consists of a hot dog, chips, water, and cookie.
Another congregation, Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, enlists the youth to put the money in the machines and hand out the laundry soap. They even carry the finished laundry out to the clients’ cars! The LWML provides cookies and punch as well as church brochures. The event is so popular that the laundromat puts out a sign a week ahead announcing when the free laundry is available.
Of course, clean laundry isn’t the only objective of “Loads of Love.” While the clients are waiting for the wash and dry cycles to complete, the church team has an opportunity to visit with, listen to, and show Christ’s love to them. Many of the clients are regulars who have come to know and love the volunteers. This is also an opportunity to share Christian literature, including information about the church and services, with the clients and to pray with and for them.
For more information about starting a “Loads of Love” ministry contact Mollie Haines at 479-567-0935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
God’s word commands us to take care of the poor:
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land (Deuteronomy 15:11, NIV).
All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along (Galatians 2:10, NIV).
Other Ways to Show “Laundry Love”:
In every community there are ministries and agencies that house people (homeless, disabled, at risk, etc.) In most cases those facilities may have washers and dryers but they are usually in need of detergent and fabric softener. Others may not have laundry facilities but would like to install them. Here are some ways you can reach out to them.
- Contact the ministry and ask if they need laundry supplies. Ask if they have specific requirements since some washing machines require special detergents.
- Organize a collection of laundry supplies. Use a hamper and a laundry basket as receptacles for the contributions.
- Collect cash donations to fund laundry supplies. Send a small “laundry basket” home with each family to remind them to contribute to their laundry fund. You can furnish a list of thank-offering prompts such as “put in a nickel for every pair of socks you own”.
- Hold a fund-raiser in the form of a game night. Serve light refreshments, award laundry-themed door prizes (mesh bags for delicate items, hanging clothes pins, dryer balls, etc.), collect laundry supplies, and set up games such as “pin the sock on the dryer,” “dryer sheet toss,” and “match the socks.”
A Prayer as You Plan:
Dear Heavenly Father, so often we take for granted the simple gifts you’ve given us, like clean clothes. Please make us aware of those for whom clean clothing is not so simple, especially when that might impede their ability to find work. Particularly help us recognize the needs in our community and show us how to satisfy them. Make us bold, Father, to go out into our community to meet the people who need our help. Send the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say and to be able to show love to people who might not be just like us. They are all your precious children. Amen.
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at email@example.com. Thank you!
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