The reality of Laundry Love Project is two-fold. Sometimes there is hope in watching the progress of some, yet sometimes the extremity of the need seems almost defeating...
Below are is an email from Ryan Rusch (firstname.lastname@example.org) when I asked him if there were any stories that he wanted to share from February's Laundry Love Project Fayetteville....
In Ryan's Words...
"I guess I've been a little hesitant to write a story because not all of them were good. I felt a little discouraged after leaving because I just can't always help people's situations. I know it comes with the territory, but maybe it just got to me last time.
We had another busy night with a lot of new faces. Once again the washers and dryers were loaded full most of the night and the laundromat was crammed with people with all kinds of stories.
Some make you smile and some make you wish you could do more.....
One, 18 year old boy has been homeless since Christmas day after a fall through with his mother. As he told me his experience of living in a tent through the ice storm, I just thought this is a lot for an 18 year old kid. Through a series of events he is stranded in Fayetteville away from any family or friends and trying desperately to get to a friend up north that is willing to help him get back on his feet...he just needs a bus ticket.
One woman told me the story of her daughter in prison that just had a baby. Now she is taking care of her 5 week old grandaughter till mom gets out in 6 months.
Or some that make you smile....
One young mother that has been coming since we started in September just bought a car with her boyfriend. When I saw her it was the first thing she said to me (and she said it very proudly), "We bought a car!" As she took me outside to show it to me, I couldn't help but be very happy for her and what she has overcome.
We did have the priviledge of distributing 3 full bags of coats that were collected and donated by Walmart ISD during their coat drive last month. That was enough for just about everyone that came that had need, but we'll bring more in March.
Thanks to Justin and Tara Wilkinson for bringing pizza for everyone...and all who volunteered their time to serve."
I traded a few emails back and forth with Ryan on this one...just to offer a little encouragement.
You see, we may not be able to help everyone everytime, but we can never underestimate the value of our attempt. It's in this struggle that we find the deeper meanings of why it is we do what we do.
It reminds us that the need is greater than the response, and that "small" things like a bus ticket become a way to literally change someone's entire world.
I pray this 18 year old man returns because there will be a bus ticket waiting for him.
On the other hand, a new car? How amazing...! We are not saying that it did, but if the money saved from not having to wash laundry was able to be redirected into a car...that's a success story!
There are many times that transportation is the difference between being able to work to support a family and being homeless.
So, we celebrate with this young mother because there is hope and it is alive.
One last thing...the people that volunteer their time and give their money to make Laundry Love Project are my heroes. What amazing love...
I'll end with this quote I read off of a Starbucks coffee cup two days ago...it just seems to describe what Laundry Love Project has become.
There is a subtle difference
between a mission and a promise.
A mission is something you strive to accomplish -
a promise is something you are compelled to keep.
One is individual, the other shared.
When a mission and a promise are one and the same...
that's when mountains are moved and races are won.