Local volunteers show others a little laundry love

Going to the laundromat, especially when you have a large family, can be a daunting task.

A typical trip involves carting heavy bags of dirty clothes, adding soap powder to the washers without spilling it, waiting for what seems like an eternity to dry everything, then folding and packing stacks of laundry, from jeans to underwear, and lugging it all back home.

The cost to use the washers and dryers in a laundromat really adds up, and can be a financial strain on families, especially those with a number of active children.

But a group of local Laundry Love volunteers — including Peggy Zamore of Temple B’Nai Chaim in Georgetown — made the experience a whole lot brighter recently for customers at White Street Wash, 30 White Street in Danbury.

On Aug. 14, the volunteers spent six hours at the laundromat, paying for customers to wash and dry their clothes.

The funding to pay for this service was provided by donations raised by local sponsors as part of the Laundry Love initiative.

Laundry Love was founded in California and partners with groups and laundromats across the U.S. to help clean clothes and linens for low-income or no-income families and individuals. “We see the laundromat as a place where strangers become friends, people are known by name, hope is hustled, and the worth of every human being is acknowledged and celebrated,” a statement on Laundry Love’s website says.

At White Street Wash, owner Charlie Dockter accepted the request made by local Laundry Love volunteers and is offering the group’s services to his customers on the second Wednesday of each month.

The opening launch of Laundry Love at White Street Wash was held on Aug. 14, from 1 to 7 p.m. A table was set up in the front, staffed by volunteers who worked in three two-hour shifts. During that time, customers were treated to free laundry services.

Along with Zamore, working the very first shift of the Laundry Love initiative in the Danbury area, were Georgia Carrington and Dorothy Alexander from Ridgefield, Mimi Herald from Danbury, Carol Tolenon from Redding, and Denise Holl of Danbury, volunteer leader.

Local Laundry Love sponsors include Temple B’Nai Chaim of Georgetown; St. James Episcopal Church, Congregation B’Nai Israel, and United Jewish Center of Danbury; Christ Church in Redding; St. Mary’s Church, St. Stephen’s Church, First Congregational Church, and Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield; and Trinity Church in Newtown.

“This is a way to get to know people and develop friendships.” said Holl. It’s a community partnership, not just for religious organizations, and we welcome anyone to Laundry Love that would like to help others,” she said.

To volunteer or contribute to Laundry Love, contact one of the local sponsors or visit laundrylove.org/.