Good Shepherd’s Laundry Days. Their goal is to be a good neighbor to their neighbors.
The first two people of the day that we got to help were two men from Haiti. When they arrived at the laundromat, I greeted them and gave my usual speech. “Hi, I’m here with my church, and we’d like to pay for your laundry today.” I could tell pretty quickly that we had a language barrier. They looked a little confused but allowed me to give them quarters for their three washing machines.
In that moment we spoke the same language; kindness, humanity, love, respect.
Laundromat. Image: Adobe Stock
When they were ready to dry their clothes, they waved me over. They loaded their belongings into three dryers, and I added the quarters. They asked me, “How much?” pointing to the washers and dryers. I wasn’t entirely sure what information they wanted. I thought maybe they wanted to know how much we spent or how much they saved. I started adding up what was spent, and they reached into their wallets. They must have thought I was the laundry attendant that provided quarters and that they had to pay me back. I explained that they didn’t have to pay, it was on us. After a bit of confusion and awkward glances back and forth, we were on the same page! One of the men said, “We are Haitian.” I didn’t know what to say back. We exchanged a few words. The other man showed me that he had put our church ‘business card’ in his wallet.
I returned to my seat and left the men to their laundry. After about 20 minutes, I looked over to one of the men, to see if they needed more quarters to add to the dryers. We made eye contact and smiled genuine smiles at each other. I gave him a thumbs up, as if to say, “All good?” He returned the thumbs up, and I imagined him replying, “All’s good!” In that moment we spoke the same language; kindness, humanity, love, respect. It was a truly precious, heart-warming moment.
And this is what laundry day is all about.
Jill Hedge is a member of Church of the Good Shepherd in Gladstone. She is the head of the Laundry Day Ministry, started with a $500 grant from the diocese. This ministry has organized three laundry days, with plans to do more in the future.