Church group helps locals do laundry without the cost

Samantha Hill

Clean clothes can be seen as a luxury when a washing machine breaks down or a rental property doesn’t allow for one, but some locals have come together to help ease the laundry-related strain.

Living Hope Church launched Livingston Love Laundry with the idea of giving back to people who might need help providing themselves with clean clothes.

In October, the congregation collected $690 worth of quarters, and volunteers brought them to the laundromats in Livingston to disperse among anyone who wanted.

Living Hope Pastor Shad Durgan said the idea began after his sister noticed people in the area sometimes struggle with maintaining or finding a job when their clothes aren’t clean. There are other places around the country that did service projects providing money at laundromats, and several volunteers at the church wanted to do the same.

“This was a real way to help people,” Durgan said.

A member of the congregation, Sarah Bandstra, who works in the Livingston School District, said she also saw many students coming into school with dirty clothes and noted it can cause them difficulty in school and in finding friends.

“It can really be expensive for people if they are always needing to go to the laundromat,” Bandstra said.

When  the group began doing Love Laundry in October, Durgan said they were surprised by the mixture of people who showed up.

“There were some people there that didn’t know about it so we surprised them, and then there were others who came knowing about it and we helped them all the same,” he said.

Durgan said there were many people who were thankful for the volunteers’ assistance. One person said their washing machine broke a couple of months before and they had been washing their clothes in their bathtub because it was one of their only options.

Love Laundry volunteers show up on a Saturday at laundrymats with soap and quarters for everyone, but they don’t press people to come to church, Durgan said.

“I want people to have this without the expectation that they will have to go to church,” he said. “I just want people to be able to do their laundry.”

Love Laundry is something many of the volunteers enjoy. Durgan said he hopes to do it as much as possible as funds are available. The project is expected to take place once every other month or so.

Meanwhile, volunteers will show up at Livingston’s laundromats from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 3. Soap will also be available. Bandstra said many of the volunteers will also be bringing coloring books for any children at the locations.