At the end of every “Come and See” Service, Deacon Tom Lindell closes with “The Eucharist is ended, the service begins.” Those who attend Come and See have heeded these words by helping the homeless and indigent through a ministry called Laundry Love.
Laundry Love began with “T-Bone,” a homeless gentleman living in Ventura, California. In one particular conversation, a question was asked of him: “T-Bone, how can we come alongside your life in a way that would matter?” His response was honest and practical. “If I had clean clothes I think people would treat me like a human being.”
After registering with the Laundry Love website, several members of the Come and See community have worked closely with the Rev. Greg Foraker to partner with a local laundromat, recruit volunteers, and secure funds to make Laundry Love a reality in Tucson as an outreach of St. Philip’s. Northgate Laundry, at Grant and Alvernon, was selected as a partner for many reasons, but chiefly because Clarisse Kostolny (owner & operator) shares a passion and commitment for helping others. We meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 6 to 8:00 pm, closing down around 9:00 p.m.
Laundry Love was launched on April 8, 2015, with a handful of informed folks looking for an opportunity to go away with clean clothes. Assistance takes the form of simply placing quarters into the wash/dryer machines for those in need with no questions asked. We’re happy to report that each month we’ve seen an increase in the number of people seeking financial support, along with returning customers whom we’re getting to know and welcome their return. (In August, one recipient walked several blocks in over 100 degree heat, pushing her walker, which had her laundry bag fastened to the front of it.)
For volunteers, the beauty of the Laundry Love ministry is that it allows us to participate and engage with members of our local Tucson community. Laundry takes time and allows for sharing and conversation, often times giving us a glimpse of a world different from our own. One woman shared that she recently lost her job and could not afford to do laundry for over a month while another customer asked for extra laundry soap in his washer because he’d gone so long without clean laundry, he’d been wearing his clothing inside out. Laundry Love may affect the lives of those who struggle financially, but we think most volunteers would agree that our lives are affected on a greater level.
If you’re curious … Come and See!! We are actively seeking volunteers and donations. Please contact Patty Hamburger to volunteer for an evening of Laundry Love. To make a financial donation, please make your check payable to St. Philip’s, with “Laundry Love” on the memo line.