...beyond Laundry Love

The past couple weeks have been exciting as the efforts by the remarkable people involved in Laundry Love have continued to be an example of why we continue to move along. We have a couple short stories to share (this is the first); however, before we share them we have a disclaimer. "This posting will not do these stories anywhere close to the justice they deserve."

The first story started in Sept of 2008 when first Laundry Love in NW Arkansas off the ground.  Since then, they have continued to return to this little laundromat in South Fayetteville with no other agenda other than to be a small light of hope for people in our community who may need a little encouragement.

Here is Ryan's account of how that has developed over the past year into this past Sunday's activities...

Today we had the pleasure of serving some homeless friends that we have met at LLP Fayetteville. The police came to their tent site recently and told them they needed to vacate by last Monday. We were able to extend their eviction date for a week, hopefully more, by going into the woods and cleaning up the trash. We hauled off a heaping truckload of trash, old tents, old sleeping bags, old clothes, etc.

Afterwards we were able to provide them new tents, new sleeping bags, new socks, new underwear, and new jackets for the winter (as a result of the Community D.C. efforts). We finished the day with a delicious lunch at Charlie's Chicken.

One man had been homeless for twenty years, another couple since a job layoff due to Hurricane Ike, and a couple others who have been doing their best to mantain jobs while being homeless (a task much harder than it might seem).  Think about it..... If you lost your job and couldn't find one for 6 months, were would you be? Some people can turn to family and friends, some can't.

Thank you to Brian, Aaron, and Rob for your willingness to give up your time and some cash. You guys inspire me and remind me of all the good people who will help in the future.

Lastly, as the temps dropped and the rain started to fall this evening, I can't stop thinking about our friends in the woods.

As Aaron put it, "I used to love the rain at night, but tonight I'm finding it hard to rest."

This is just one or many examples of how relationships that began over some clothes that needed to be washed are truly going beyond Laundry Love, and I know this story has many chapters yet to be written.

The true measure that will determine if we are making an impact in our community will not be found in the "big-ness" or number of Laundry Love's that we hold in NW Arkansas.  The true measure of progress will be determined by the moments that we are able to meet a friend in a time of need and be a part of their story.

If you would like more information on Laundry Love or how to get involved in NW Arkansas, please visit the Laundry Love initiative page.  For more insight into what homelessness looks like in NW Arkansas, spent a little time on David Lanier's blog site "Coping with Homelessness".