By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A local outreach ministry is spreading love – while providing clean clothes – at a busy Yukon laundromat.
Yukon’s Grace Church in 2016 started the Laundry Love ministry at Yukon Laundry, 1220 S Holly (just north of Vandament).
“We believe that God’s love is for everyone,” said the Rev. Tim Baer, vicar at Grace Church-Episcopal. “This is just a tangible sign of that.”
On the last Thursday each month, church members are at the laundromat from 5-8 p.m. offering to help families pay for their laundry.
“We’re here with quarters, with hope, with smiles, and a positive attitude,” Fr. Baer said. “We’re just here to sow seeds of God’s grace in people’s lives.”
The Laundry Love ministry was halted in March due to COVID-19 but returned in July.
Laundry Love volunteers will be back at Yukon Laundry this Thursday at a tent in front of the laundromat. There they will register people and help them find open machines to clean their clothes.
There typically are four to six volunteers each time and they average about 100 loads of laundry. The high has been 120 loads.
“Every last Thursday of the month for five years, we’ve had a team here,” Baer said. “Everybody who comes in, we offer to do their laundry for free – no matter what type of car they drive up in or who they’re dressed.
“We help people who’ve lost their jobs, people in transition, people who are caring for loved ones, people with medical conditions who can’t work – all sorts of situations. We try to provide that little ‘stopgap’ to help people back up on their feet.”
The Yukon school district and helping agencies like Compassionate Hands and Manna Pantry will refer at-need and vulnerable families to this free laundromat outreach ministry.
‘FREE GIFT OF GRACE’
It’s usually busy on Laundry Love day.
“Because we typically fill up every machine and there gets to be a lot of people in the laundromat, we have some COVID procedures to help us keep the numbers of people in here down,” Baer said. “We’re asking people to wear masks so we can be courteous to our neighbors and to our volunteers.”
Laundry Love is one of four outreach ministries offered by Grace Church, 720 S Yukon Parkway.
Grace Church frequently receives “thank-you” notes from Laundry Love beneficiaries.
One person wrote to thank the ministry for helping her so they could afford prescription medications that month.
Other recipients will write notes letting church volunteers know they got a job and really appreciated the help when they were down.
The church regularly receives cash donations from people who want to help others get their laundry cleaned.
Nothing is expected from people who use the laundry ministry.
“We’ll invite them if they want to pray, we’ll tell them about our church, but we’re not asking them for something in return,” Baer said. “This is a free gift of grace. That’s what we do.
“We’re trying to help people out and get them back on their feet.”
If the last Thursday of the month falls on a holiday, Laundry Love Day is moved to the previous week.