Loads of Love program offers access to laundry facilities at local elementary school

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For many folks, doing laundry is just another simple household chore, but for those without easy access to laundry facilities, it can become a major ordeal, and a financial burden. One local program is taking action to help out.

More than $10,000 dollars was raised in less than 24 hours to get a washer and dryer for a Kansas City, Mo. school.

The school serves many families who need help, and the #LoadsOfLove program could help even more schools in the future.

“I'm without a car, and then I have my two little ones, and their father is at work, so it's a lot,” said Dominique Brand, a parent.

For some parents, doing laundry is more than just a chore. Brand says sometimes she has to wait until she can afford soap or the cost to run the machines.

It can also hurt attendance records in school districts catering to low income families.

“Many of these kids are coming from homes where washing their clothes is one of the least of their problems,” said Ashley Iodice, Donor Relations Manager for United Way of Kansas City.

That's why the United Way launched Loads Of Love KC starting with the Kansas City public schools, specifically Benjamin Banneker Elementary, as a pilot program to help improve attendance rates.

“We took a nod from our neighbors over in St. Louis, and there was a Whirlpool initiative that put washers and dryers in schools, and they saw attendance skyrocket through the roof,” Iodice added.

The goal was to raise $5,000 for washers, dryers, laundry soap, and mesh bags for the kids to take home.

“How can they really focus on reading and math when they're thinking about the other issues like coming to school with clean clothes,” says Harrison Neal, Sr., the Principal of Benjamin Banneker Elementary School.

Faultless Starch Bon Ami Company matched dollar for dollar. They raised $10,000 in 24 hours.

“That's amazing. That's a great idea, and it will help out a lot of families,” added Brand.

While Brand's kids attend different schools, she's hoping the program expands to every school in need.

“A lot of families don't have a washer and dryer and my apartment complex that I stay in, their washer and dryers are messed up and raggedy, so it would be more convenient for parents,” Brand said.

Kansas City public schools require uniforms, so if kids don't have a clean one, they can't be in school.

“Sometime students are wearing the same clothes every day, over and over again, so we want to make sure we do our part to be able to support families, so the students can come to school with clean clothes,” Neal said.

Neal said parent and staff volunteers will help wash clothes.

While the goal for Benjamin Banneker elementary was reached, the United Way is keeping the Loads Of Love program open for another couple of weeks to help other schools.

The machines at Banneker should be ready to use when students get back from winter break.