Laundry Love to open Westmoreland location in Irwin
Cleaning clothes can be a lonely chore at a coin laundry service.
It can also be an expense area families have a tough time fitting into their budget.
A Harrison City woman wants to lighten the load while sharing some love along the way.
“People that have clean clothes, they just feel better about themselves,” Karen Wolfe said.
Westmoreland County’s first Laundry Love location will open April 2 in Irwin at R.C.S. Laundromat on Main Street. Wolfe and other volunteers through The Church of the Advent in Jeannette will provide quarters, laundry soap and dryer sheets to anyone in need.
There are no requirements for those who receive the help, just that they show up. Laundry Love is a national initiative that connects neighborhood groups and coin laundry services with people who have little or no income. It’s pretty casual — there are no papers to fill out and volunteers get the first names and phone numbers of those participating as a way to communicate if needs change.
Volunteers are at their locations on a monthly basis — for Wolfe it will be the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. While it is part of her church’s ministry, the service is not faith-based.
She envisions it as a way to connect with others in the community and help them in ways that go beyond a few quarters in a washing machine.
“Some people just need conversation,” she said. “I’m hoping it will also be a way for people to network. It’s all about relationships and connecting with them, loving them, being a friend to your neighbor.”
A Laundry Love location in Blairsville has been helping families for the last two years, organizer Kathy Baird said. There are three to four families who visit regularly, but volunteers through St. Peter’s Episcopal Church are in contact with up to 12 families, she said.
“Some of the families we had have moved on to better circumstances,” she said. “The folks have really hard lives, I don’t know how they get through.”
Both women got grants through their local Episcopal diocese to get started with the program. They are seeking community donations from other churches and through jars at local businesses. Wolfe hopes the Irwin service can grow and expand to additional days.
“It’s really filling a hole that’s there,” Baird said. “It’s very simple and it’s something every community needs.”
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .