I mentioned in this post about a special local outreach project that I participated in during 2011 and I mentioned that I really hope to do it over and over again. I think that it’s such a good idea that I want to spread the word to others who might be willing to do it their communities. It is such a neat way to minister to the community and allows opportunity to share the gospel in a very effective and different way.
So… here’s what you do!
The goal is to reach out to those in the community who having clean clothes is a financial hardship.
1) Start collecting quarters or funds and laundry detergent. I’d encourage you to enlist Sunday School classes of all ages to participate and get the entire church involved. We asked our youth and two adult classes to help collect quarters for the first one that we did and it worked great. Most Laundromats do not use quarters now (you load a card to put into machines) but people associate quarters with Laundromats so that’s how we did it. We asked a ministry within the church to help with detergent.
2) Go to a local Laundromat and ask the owner if they’d allow you to come in one day/night and pay for the laundry to be done of those who come through the doors during a specified time. ** WARNING! They are going to look at you like you’ve lost your mind.** Determine how many people you feel you may be able to help based on your budget (funds collected) and time frame. We chose 20 people and determined to be there from 6pm until 9pm. We decided that we had enough money to do 2 washes and 2 dryers per person. We also gave tickets to those people so that as we paid for the load we could take a ticket and keep things fair.
3) Get together items to help entertain children. We took coloring pages and crayons, pipe cleaners (to make things with) and beads to string.
4)Collect information to help present the gospel and info about your church to give to those that you meet. We took witnessing tracks and visitor info about our church.
5)Determine if you would like to serve some sort of food. Once the laundry gets in the machines you have about 20-30 minutes to chat with those in the Laundromat. That is your opportunity to get to know the people a little, offer them a snack and share Christ. We chose to offer a light meal and so we bought subs from Subway and had classes donate chips, drinks and cookies for dessert. Often you are dealing with those who live in hotels, on the streets or who are very needy. Offering food and clean clothes means so much to them!
6) Show up and get busy sharing Christ’s love! We had a few youth to work with kids that came in. We had men that held the loaded money cards and they’d go to the machines as people loaded their items and pay for the wash/dry cycles and women who helped with food distribution.
The neat thing was we were able to encourage the Laundromat owners and the Subway employees as well as the people that we helped with their laundry.
This idea is not original with me or my church. I am including a link to a ministry that can give you more information about this type of outreach and how this idea came to be. Let me just say… those who participated that night are currently trying to arrange other Laundry Love projects in our city. It impacted all of us and we are eager to share Christ in this unique way all around our city!
Here’s the link! If you like the idea but are not sure how you can get your church involved you can give to this ministry who consistently reaches out in this way! It’s awesome!!!