People often think about meeting others’ needs when it comes to housing, food, and clothing. But, people tend to forget about other basic needs, such as the ability to do laundry.
Coming from a social worker background, I spent time working with families in low income communities where I saw how people struggled to clean their clothes each week, or how many children who have aged out of foster care don’t know how to wash clothes. So, when someone in my church’s ladies group mentioned a laundry ministry in nearby Knoxville, I thought it was something I’d like to be involved in.
In August 2016, our group from First Christian Church started the Rogersville Laundry Ministry, which provides everything but the dirty laundry! We started doing it one night a month for two hours. The people bring their dirty laundry, and we pay for the machines and provide all the laundry supplies.
In the beginning, it was rather slow. However, once another church joined us, the ministry just ballooned! More community volunteers have joined us, and we have expanded to two separate locations one night a week. We had one evening in September 2017 where we provided clean laundry for 78 people.
We begin and end each evening of washing with a prayer. But, in the meantime, we just spend time with the people. We have a sign-in that asks if they have prayer requests, and the guests know we will pray for them that evening, or take their prayer requests to the church’s prayer team.
The Lord has blessed the ministry, and it is a joy to see how God allows others to minister because of it. We have people show up to laundry night that do not have anything to wash; they come to serve or give donations. We’ve received donations from people as far away as Arizona. Recently, I have been contacted by people in neighboring towns asking for information to start a laundry ministry in their towns. And, I am happy to help! Our church’s mission is loving people to Jesus, and the laundry ministry has been a wonderful way to allow us to bring this mission to life in our town.