During the difficult months when Victoria Mitchell lived in her car with her baby daughter, the happiest day of the month was laundry day. Once each month she'd walk to a local laundromat and take advantage of Laundry Love, a growing faith-driven movement that helps the homeless by washing their dirty clothes for free.
It's about more than just free soap and quarters. Volunteers actually befriend their patrons and often find additional ways to help them. "It's an elegantly simple model where you do something necessary for people who don't have the means to do it themselves," said USC religion expert Richard Flory.
Laundry Love was launched about ten years ago by members of an Episcopal church in Ventura, CA. It's now spread to 100 locations throughout the country, embracing many Christian denominations plus mosques and synagogues. Dave Clark has come to Laundry Love since losing his job as an aerospace machinist. He gets more from the washing sessions than savings. "It gives me time to come and socialize with some nice, upbeat people, and feel a little bit better about myself," he said. To learn more about Laundry Love or start a branch at your church, visit http://laundrylove.org/
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