I walked outside about half way through last nights LL and here on the sidewalk in front of the Laundromat was this beautiful chalk street art, spelling Laundry, painted by the son of one of our newer guests. We are always amazed at what shows up at our Laundrylove celebrations.
The folks from St Wilfrid's Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach, who are one of our strongest supporters, brought us a traditional Christmas dinner, with turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes and stuffing, and all the fixings.
Meanwhile, the OCC Gospel Choir and Band sang Christmas songs while we dined. There were a lot of people last night, over 40 laundry guests and probably as many volunteers.
Meanwhile, the kids, led by Kayla, were busy decorating magic wands in the kids corner:
Rory and Faye handed out clothes again, and Nayyer brought socks, which are 'like gold' to our homeless friends. Kevin provided free haircuts, and we did a gazillion loads of laundry.
Once again, with apologies to our attendant Gabby, we left at nearly midnight, as we helped Tom fold clothes and strap the bags to the trunk of his already stuffed car. Tom has been sleeping inside for the last few nights.
As I arrived, I noticed a man doing his laundry, and as others began loading up our grocery bags, I started chatting with him, since I was sure he was wondering what was going on. I explained Laundrylove, which Christian and I are now pretty good at, and before the night was over he was offering to bring us stuff from his mini-mart that he owns. It's a brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity.
The Gospel Choir, singing from the top of their lungs and bottom of their heart, managed to draw some attention from the neighboring apartment dwellers. They were a little loud I admit, but it's CHRISTMAS!
Anyway, I had a pleasant conversation with the Huntington Beach Police Department, and, since we want to be good neighbors, the music ended.
It is impossible to put into words all that happens on a Laundrylove night. You have to experience it for yourself. Our volunteers are from churches and mosques, yoga studios and the neighborhood.
(The yoga studios, thanks to Shannon, have raised enough money in the last month to cover months of Laundryloves in Huntington Beach!)
Our guests live on the streets and in cars, and in low income housing and apartments. The music is Gospel and Amy Winehouse. The food is middle eastern and turkey and chocolate cake and Mexican corn.
If Jesus himself came by he would think, for a moment, that the Kingdom had broken in for 3-4 hours in Huntington Beach. Or Mohammad. Or Budda. They would all come in, grab a bag of quarters or a scoop for soap, join the party, and eat some cake.