What Laundromats Are Doing to Help Their Communities

Dexter Dealers NCGiving to the communities you serve with your laundromat is key to your success. Around the nation, laundromat owners are finding unique and fun ways to give back and make a difference in their communities. Haven't thought of a way for your laundromat to take part in community outreach? Let these fellow coin-op laundry owners inspire you to make an impact.

Berwyn, IL is home to 'World's Largest Laundromat.' Owned by Tom Benson, this laundromat has served as a hub for numerous programs throughout the community that have gained popularity. Outside of sponsoring various local activities, Tom and his staff work all year long to give back. They host a weekly pizza night for families in their community and have kid friendly events every month. Embracing the holiday spirit helps the World's Largest Laundromat staff host a very successful toy drive. Tom even helps keep the kids focused all summer long with a "Read to Ride" program which encourages children to read books so they can enter to win a new bike. Since Tom purchased the laundromat in 1999, the success of his business and the programs it sponsors has created an emotional connection between the community and the World's Largest staff.

Down in South Carolina, a laundromat has become a learning center and a community gathering place for the people of Charleston's Eastside. Poverty-stricken Reid Street in Charleston might be the last place you would expect to find high-tech lessons in computer programming, coding, website design and video game programming. Through a partnership with Charleston's Women in Tech and the local laundromat, Laundry Matters, children have access to technology. Through a program called CodeOn, volunteers from tech companies all over the South Carolina Lowcountry are teaching these kids how to harness the power of technology. In the back room of Laundry Matters, these children are building marketable skills which will help them leave the poverty of Charleston's Eastside and give them opportunities they may not have had otherwise.

Worldwide, laundromat owners are making a difference through a one person, one wash program called Laundry Love. With more than 300 locations across the US and overseas, Laundry Love allows those in need to wash their clothes for free one night a week. The program is funded by donations from businesses and churches throughout the communities where the laundromats are located. This service offers those who are struggling with poverty or homelessness a chance to get clean clothes, and for many allows them to feel some sense of dignity. Those who rely on the service find small ways to give back to the facility. At the Vancouver, WA center, one man, Kenny Haynes, uses Laundry Love regularly. Kenny is homeless and comes to the facility every day for the companionship and to help out. He cleans up around the laundromat and uses their Wi-Fi to update this location's internet listings. Staffed by volunteers, Laundry Love has become a place of fellowship that offers much more than just clean clothes.

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