Florida-based nonprofit Current Initiatives provided free laundry services Tuesday for 25 low-income Las Vegas Valley families, washing and drying about 300 loads of clothes.
Inside AJ’s Laundry Star, 3050 E. Desert Inn Road, families streamed in with mountains of clothes. Vanessa Gutierrez, 38, who has a family of six, said she spends about $50 a week to wash and dry laundry. Gutierrez said her family is relying solely on her husband’s income.
“I appreciate that the money I’m saving today, I can use to buy food for my family,” she said.
Current Initiatives founder and CEO Jason Sowell said the nonprofit’s Laundry Project is about “more than clean clothes.”
“There’s a lot of empowerment and dignity that comes from clean clothes and sheets,” he said.
Las Vegas resident Dianne Jordan, 72, said she lives with her sister, who is disabled, overwhelmed with medical bills and “fighting to survive.”
“Receiving help with my laundry means I can wash mine and my sister’s clothes,” Jordan said. “What a blessing and a relief.”
Sowell started the Laundry Project in 2008 in Tampa, Florida, after seeing a need in the low-income neighborhoods. Sowell gathered friends, raised money and went to a laundromat to help pay for people’s laundry.
After the project launched in Tampa, Sowell expanded it to Las Vegas, which has been served for the past 11 years. The project is active in 14 states.
According to Sowell, the Laundry Project comes to Las Vegas three or four times a year. About $1,000 was raised for Tuesday’s washings.
“The word, ‘clean’ doesn’t mean you’re perfect,” Sowell said. “It means you have dignity and hope.”
By 2022, the Laundry Project plans to launch a laundry truck with washers and dryers to easily bring resources to homeless communities and to help with disaster relief across the U.S.
“We’re trying to get through each week with clean clothes for my kids,” said Amy Haynes, 39, a single mother of four, who was laid off from her hotel job in April. “This is truly a blessing.”