A new assistance program aims to take people to the cleaners — in a good way.
The first “Laundry with TLC” event is set for Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at the EZ Duz It Laundromat located at 2098 Elm Street, behind Walgreen’s, in Yankton.
Any individuals or families that need help covering the cost of laundry can receive enough detergent and quarters for three loads of laundry. The event is expected to repeat on fourth Tuesdays of each month, according to the group’s flier.
At today’s prices, a load of laundry costs about $2.50 to wash and about $1.50 to dry.
Imagine how many loads of laundry people with a washer and dryer at home throw in without thinking about it, said Joan Schild, one of the group’s organizers.
The funds donated by the membership of Trinity Lutheran Church will go towards providing laundry assistance for 36 people at the four-hour event. Participants are encouraged to show up earlier rather than later so there is time to run their loads through.
If there is a need, a second monthly event could possibly be added, Schild said.
“Pastor said in his sermon Saturday that he was talking to a young mother about the need for this ministry,” she said. “She (talked about) how much it costs for her to do her laundry and the dignity you have when you have clean clothes and look nice.”
To participate, people basically need to show up with laundry, she said
“When they get to the laundromat, we assign them the washers,” Schild said, noting that there will be a basket to show how much laundry goes into a load. “We give them a baggie that has the required amount of money and the detergent pod is in there, and they do their laundry.”
Drying works much the same way, with organizers distributing a baggie with a drier sheet and the number of quarters needed, which will depend on the size of the dryer, she said.
The idea for “Laundry with TLC” came out of a trip to Sioux Falls, Trinity Lutheran Church’s financial secretary, Lilah Gillis, told the Press & Dakotan.
“The Church on the Street (COTS) ministry in Sioux Falls does ‘Laundry with Love,’” she said. “I saw it advertised last summer for the first time and I thought it was a good idea. It took a few months for it to percolate before I thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we do this here in Yankton?’”
The COTS ministry brings the gospel to those who might not feel comfortable or be welcome in an indoor church setting, according to its website.
“’Laundry of Love’ had really gotten to be a big deal in Sioux Falls and a lot of people were using the ministry,” said co-organizer Vivian Westgard. “We went up there and spent a few hours with them as they did it.”
But, she said the group does not yet know how this will play in the Yankton community or how big the event will be.
“They focus mostly on the homeless people who come to their Church on the Street services, rather than the whole community,” Gillis said. “So this could get bigger, but God will provide.”
For more information, call Trinity Lutheran Church at 605-665-7415.