2nd Wednesdays at 6pm Beach Coin Laundry 19072 Beach Bl (x Garfield) Huntington Beach

Holidays at LaundryLove HB

Happy Christmas to our wonderful friends, supporters, and all of you we have yet to meet.  Every second Wednesday, the laundromat at the corner of Beach and Garfield in Huntington Beach turns into a party, with bags of food free for the taking, a haircut for those who need one, and a home cooked dinner served.  We have music, do laundry, and share the fun with lots of guests.  This month we were able to provide yet another service to the usual treats.  For Christmas, we were able to provide each patron with a gift card to a discount store to help with their holiday purchases.

It has become a tradition for the teachers and families from St Wilfrid's Preschool to cook and serve the traditional Christmas meal and this year, the youth group also got involved, plating the faire and getting to know our guests and crew.  Our family is ever expanding and we love seeing them every month, and sometimes in between, as most of us live locally.

Running back and forth between guests and machines sometimes the night becomes a blur of familiar faces of many people I've come to know and love and new friends as well.  This month, I was struck how guest after guest brought in bags of clothes that had been soaked by the recent rains and smelled of mildew.  "There's no shelter at the park," explained one.  Really, no shelter at all.  In two short days, it was supposed to rain again.

As a teenager, I worked at a coffee shop in downtown Milwaukee, where many homeless and lonely people came to sit at our counter and have a hot cup of coffee.  Meg never charged them.  They were a different lot,  one lanky black man would stand up in the middle of the restaurant, preaching the word of God, another lonely older woman, the pink lady we called her cause that's how she dressed, came in and ordered two dinners and chatted with her imaginary guest.  An old Greek man, small and fail, would take my arm and, with a shaky hand point to me and say, "Blondie, you are my favorite girlfriend."  He always made me smile with his mischievous ways and crinkle eyed smile.  I learned later that he slept on the bus, which ran all night and took about an hour and a half to complete its route.  No shelter in the park or in the city.

It's a little better here, even though right now it's growing cold, by Southern California standards.  Tomorrow it's set to rain again. At home at night, when it starts to rain,  I open my windows to listen and crawl back  to bed, between my down comforter and flannel sheets.  I have shelter.  And I am grateful for that.

The nights at LaundryLove have grown longer.  We are finding ourselves having to limit loads, something we didn't have to do for the first couple of years.  People arrive earlier and earlier, assuming a place in line as early as 12:30 in the afternoon for a start time of 7 or so.  Families, singles, women, men, the angry, the hopeless, and the grateful cue up and they get to do their laundry and we get to know love.

This is how LuandryLove works.  We take over a laundromat one time a month, provide soap, quarters, and fabric softener sheets and the other services I already talked about.  People who need the help come and do their laundry.  They don't need to listen to a sermon.  We don't ask them to verify need.  Being poor is bad enough without adding that humiliation.  And if by chance someone is rich and wants to wait 6 hours in line to do their laundry, that's ok.  They too are served.  There is a "Donate" button on this page.  We are a local group completely volunteer, so if you would like to help us and all of our friends who need to do laundry, please consider a donation.  We really appreciate it.  These donations have allowed us to increase our services to what we have today.  You are also welcome to come down and join us at any time.  We would love to see you.  The best of the holidays to all.