A helping hand: Church, community organizations partner to help Lawrence residents at laundromat

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After Tamika Davenport’s husband was murdered two years ago, she began benefitting from a weekly act of service — child care, feel meals and laundry assistance — provided by the Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, 7650 Oaklandon Rd. at the Post Road Laundromat.

Henry Birdsong does his laundry at the Laundry and More program. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

Davenport was introduced to the church at the laundromat last year when the Laundry and More program began. She said the free laundry and the provided meals have been a tremendous help.

“I don’t have any income right now, so it’s been doing me a big help,” the Lawrence resident and mother of 12 said. “This is a lifesaver. Every week, that’s just one less thing you have to worry about and it takes a lot off of you. They give you food and drinks and help with the children while I do laundry.

“They give detergent and dryer sheets and everything.”

The program began in February 2019. A church member who had been homeless four times came up with the idea. After consulting with the Lawrence Police Dept. and the school district, the church determined that the program would benefit the community.

“The police department came on board early wanting to see this happen and have an opportunity to make positive relationships in a community that has been plagued by violence and drugs and things like that,” Pastor Wade Apel said. “Not long after that, we talked to the (Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township), and (MSDLT Student Services Director) Shawn Bush said the the kids who get bullied at school are the ones who don’t smell clean.

“The ones who show up to school dirty are the ones who get bullied first.”

Besides providing five loads of laundry, detergent, dryer sheets, and a meal, the weekly program also connects organizations with the community.

“It was pretty intentional from the beginning that it was laundry and more,” said Apel, a McCordsville resident. “The laundry part is great and people get clean clothes, but the ‘more’ is really what makes a longer, lasting impact.”

Various agencies attend the weekly events and connect residents to resources, such as job fairs, free blood-pressure screening and low-cost dental care.

“We are able to connect people with some of the resources (Lawrence) has,” Apel said. “The community is really coming together to do this, and so people, when they come, they feel safe.”

Laundry and More takes is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Tuesday at the Post Road Laundromat, 4212 N. Post Rd. Attendees don’t have to be church members.

“This is a way we can help and serve,” Apel said. “We are not trying to motivate people to come to church, but there’s a pastor present if people wish to pray. Other than starting the morning in prayer, that’s the most religious thing you can say we do all morning. This gives us a chance to have more conversations and get to know people. We believe we are all part of this community together.” 

For more or to volunteer, visit laundryandmore.org.

Servants of Christ Lutheran Church started the Laundry and More program in February 2019. (Submitted photo)

 What’s provided

Each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Laundry and More offers area residents a chance to wash their clothes for free. Here’s what’s included:

  • Five loads of laundry with detergent and dryer sheets
  • Trash bags. “Most people bring their clothes in a trash bag, and by the time it gets unloaded, the bag is shredded and they need a new bag to carry the clothes home in,” Pastor Wade Apel said.
  • A meal. “We give away 100 to 150 sandwiches a week with fruit and crackers. We’ve started providing vegetables, too,” Apel said.
  • Coffee
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