Honoring Loss Of Blanket Lilburn Co Op 1st Fresh Laundromat Helping Homeless

Honoring the Loss of a Blanket

A Partnership in Community Service With 1st Fresh Laundromat

One of my homeless friends cried one day because his warmest blanket got so dirty, he couldn’t use it anymore. I gave him another blanket, but it wasn’t the same quality. It’s difficult to describe just how hard it is for a homeless person to collect the things they need to survive, only to lose them to theft, harassment or being forced to move their camps -over and over again.

This loss of a blanket—that high-quality blanket intended for outdoor use—was actually life threatening for this man. More than a blanket, it was also his primary source of shelter. Standing there watching a grown man cry over a blanket broke my heart in ways I didn’t know it could break.

I could not escape the loss of that blanket. I’ve sat with widows who did not grieve with the intensity of that man mourning the loss of his blanket. It’s been on my mind day and night.

I had the idea of calling laundromat owners to see if they would set up a voucher system so I could run a tab and pay for people to wash their stuff. I needed machines big enough to wash blankets. My assistant called all over. Crickets. I prayed extra prayers.

Then one very kind and generous man answered my prayer. Larry Teele of 1st Fresh Laundromat agreed to not only allow me to run my voucher system, but he is also matching me with funds. And this laundromat is so clean and beautiful, I think my homeless friends will feel very spoiled. I felt spoiled just being there. All they need to do is show up during certain hours and present their voucher. 1st Fresh and the LCM are also going to be helping families living in hotels, barely making it. Laundry can be a big expense when you are trying to save to get back into an apartment.

It’s really uncomfortable to be dirty, to wear dirty clothes and to shelter in a dirty blanket. I realize I sound crazy when I say this, but I feel like I have honored the memory of that blanket with this partnership in community service between 1st Fresh Laundromat and the LCM.

I still need to work on the shower problem, but for today, I am celebrating this victory. I am celebrating people like Larry Teele who understand that there is room for everyone in our community, even the unhoused.

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