For most people, doing their laundry is a mundane chore that many often repeat several times a day for the rest of their life. As a result we often forget how lucky we are to be able to wash our clothes in the first place.
Because there are countless others who can’t even do their laundry once a month.
And that’s where we now introduce Melissa Power – one woman on a mission to give low income families the luxury that most others take for granted.
She has founded “For The Love of Laundry”, which is a social enterprise based in London that is trying to take loads of worry off the shoulders of the less fortunate.
How did it begin? A while back Power started a do-it-yourself project to make her own laundry soap to cut costs. And in an interview, she said it turns out that she was able to make “really, really great soap for a really inexpensive price.”
The one drawback was that she got so involved in making the soap, she ended up with more than her family could handle. At a minimum, she had enough to last them two years.
So Powers decided to give back, and started donating her soap to different agencies and homeless shelters. It was then she had an epiphany: laundry soap couldn’t do much good unless someone had enough money to wash their clothes in the first place.
Powers, once a single mom on a very tight budget herself, said “sometimes, laundry just had to wait because it wasn’t really a do-or-die situation. I hated to do that, but that’s what needed to happen,” she said.
So organizing free laundry events at local Laundromats was her initial solution. Because in her own words, a free load of laundry can make the difference between making the monthly rent for a family on a fixed income.
She started to pitch her idea for free laundry events, but found it difficult to entice laundromats to take part. That’s when Lore Wainwright from Pillar Non-Profit encouraged Power to start selling her soap at markets and then using the proceeds to organize her own laundry events.
And that’s exactly what Power did. She now sells her soap at various markets, and with the help of social service agencies, churches, and shelters, For The Love of Laundry has been able to organize eight free laundry events to-date.
People from all walks of life have participated, including single moms and the homeless.
“Doing laundry and saving $50 here or there makes a world of difference to them,” she said. “I don’t want to do my own laundry, but I will certainly help other people do theirs.”
At one event, one young mom with three children came to Power and gave her a big hug. She said to Power: “now, I can take my kids out to dinner. I’ve never been able to take my kids out to a restaurant before.”
Power would eventually like to expand the program and make donated clothing available for those who need it. She has also talked to the school boards about reaching out to students in need of laundry services.
If you would like to learn more about Melissa or you would like to make a donation to help support her, you can visit their website at For The Love Laundry.