Immediately following Foursquare Connection 2015 in Anaheim, Calif., the Laundry Love mega-movement will be celebrating 13 years of community service and holding a national gathering in Ventura, May 29–30.
Before I got involved with Laundry Love more than eight years ago, I never realized how a simple quarter could affect someone’s life. The ministry had been active for a while, and I had heard a little bit about the program from Greg Russinger, national director and co-founder of Laundry Love, who also serves as senior pastor of Portland Foursquare Church in Portland, Ore. It wasn’t until I was on the frontline that I realized how impactful this particular service could be for the community.
I remember one person commenting to me how much the little that we were providing was going a very long way. This person said she received government aid and that, after paying all her bills, laundry was the last thing on her list of monthly to-dos. Laundry Love, she said, was a tremendous blessing. It was then that my life was changed, probably more than those we served that night.
Our congregation now serves three laundromats, and it is evident that Laundry Love is more than just a Band-Aid in the community. It isn’t about the occasional community outreach to make ourselves feel better—it’s about investing in the community, falling in love with your neighbor and exercising godly compassion to those around you. Laundry Love is about becoming immersed in the very community we call home.
I have gotten to know so many families. I’ve seen their toddlers grow into young teens. I’ve cried and prayed with a mother whose child was just rushed to the hospital after being hit by a car. And I’ve shared even more tears with my homeless friends as they expressed a sense of dignity being restored to their lives. I’ve experienced all of this simply by putting quarters into a washing machine.
Thinking about starting a Laundry Love in a local community? Attend the Laundry Love National Gathering to hear all of the success stories and best practices, and learn from the mistakes we’ve all made along the way.
One of the best parts about Laundry Love is that it creates a shift in mentality, where folks in the community are no longer viewed as “those” people. When investing in people’s lives through Laundry Love, “those” people immediately become “our” people, and we are more inclined to help, rather than hesitate.
The upcoming Laundry Love National Gathering is a very important one. It’s an opportunity to highlight the great work that has been done in the past 13 years, but it also affords the opportunity to cast vision for the future.
Anyone thinking about starting a Laundry Love in his or her community would benefit tremendously by hearing all of the success stories and best practices, and learning from the mistakes we’ve all made along the way. Contextualizing it to the Foursquare family, any ministry looking to participate in Laundry Love can easily visit and learn from one of the sites nationwide, as many locations are facilitated by Foursquare churches.
Come and be a part of the movement. It’s as simple as loving people, one load at a time.