By Cory L. Higgs
For most, the idea of doing laundry is a mundane task that is dreaded and often a daily struggle.
But Loads of Love, a program sponsored by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, has made its way to Stuart Elementary School, which recently acquired a grant from the foundation to build a laundry facility on campus for students in need.
“We often have students who need this (laundry) service,” said Sandra Clement, principal. “Research shows older students are more likely to miss school if they have no clean clothes. Younger students easily soil their clothing and need a change of clean clothes that can be made available with the Loads of Love Laundry Center,” she said.
Loads of Love was created for youth who are homeless or in unstable living conditions. The program allows them to have access to a no-cost laundry facility. The program’s goal is to remove a barrier for student attendance in the classroom and in extracurricular activities by providing them with a discreet way to have clean clothing, according to a press release from the Washington Redskins.
The release stated that studies conducted have shown an increase in school attendance, along with participation in after school activities.
“It is our hope that we can send students home and they can return to school with freshly laundered clothing,” Clement said. “We plan to use our laundry facility to target students that we feel may benefit the most. We will ask volunteers or school staff to help provide services to students in a very discreet manner. We will create a laundry schedule if students want to drop off and pick up items,” she added.
Clement said that students also will have the opportunity to learn to sort, wash and fold laundry, which is a “much needed real-life skill.”
Clement said that she was unaware of other schools utilizing this program in their schools, adding she hopes others will see the benefits that this new facility will provide.
The new facility will include a washing and drying machine, folding station, laundry bags, and supplies, according to Clement. She said that the maintenance department is currently searching for the best place to house the facility in the school, and that the equipment has already been purchased for the new laundry center.
Although still a Steelers fan, Clement said she is “deeply grateful” to the Washington Redskins and their charitable organization.
To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must be registered as either a) a 501(c) (3) Non-Profit or b) a School in a Virginia, Washington D.C., or the Prince George/Montgomery counties of Maryland. Additionally, an applicant must be ready to implement the installation of laundry facilities for the fall of 2020. For additional information on how to apply, visit www.redskins.com/community/loads-of-love or contact CharitableFoundation@redskins.com. Those interested in supporting the program can make a donation to the Redskins Charitable Foundation at www.redskins.com/donate and designate Loads of Love Program in the remarks. All donations are tax-deductible.