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Oregon City - October 2018

Thinking more about our event on October much as the number of families served and pounds of laundry washed and dried is great to know, the most impactful takeaway from our evenings at the laundromat are the stories. 📖

We arrived at the laundromat a few minutes later than planned, in a car nearly overflowing with what it takes to run an event night: folding tables, giant totes full of resource table supplies, detergent, softener, bottled water, snacks, extra blankets and clothing - and our kids squeezed in there too (they're lucky they're still on the small side - ha!). Even before we got out of the car, neighbors waiting patiently to start their laundry came up and offered to help unload. And not just unload - they set up and organized everything! Blankets were folded neatly, coats hung up on makeshift hangers, hats and gloves arranged just so. We were ready to roll in no time!👕👖

During set up we noticed a man waiting patiently in the corner...and realized it was our friend Dan from Grocery Outlet! He had a grocery cart filled with reusable bags - one for each family - full of snacks, wipes, and a $3 gift card. This gets even better: We were able to let people know that they could save their snacks for later because pizza was on the way thanks to Rich and Betty! Not only could our neighbors enjoy a hot meal and have food to take with them, but they could fill their reusable bags with resource table supplies and use their gift card to buy much needed items. 🍕

A few loads into the evening an employee of the laundromat walked up and explained that someone left a note with her earlier in the day. The note said, "Please use this for 1st Tuesday laundry" and inside was 💵. Wow. Just wow! Seriously, this community blows us away. Not long after that, a woman who came in just to drop off a box of dryer sheets ended up staying and helping for most of the night.😊

This last part is from one mama's heart to another: A woman came to the laundromat not at all expecting to find a laundry party going on. We got her clothes loaded into washers and she offered to go purchase any supplies we needed. We had one special request item from a neighbor: Tylenol for their fever. Off to the store went the woman. When she came back she saw her son in the parking lot. This woman hadn't seen her son in a very long time due to addiction and homelessness, and until that moment she hadn't known if he was dead or alive. This story doesn't have a fairy tale ending; real life often doesn't. There was no warm hug, no happy news that he was clean and sober. In fact, the two didn't even talk because the son took off when he saw her. But that mama thanked us for being there, for helping take care of her son. And later when the son came back, he too thanked us for being there. This, friends, is one example of how meeting basic, tangible needs connects each of us as human beings. ❤️

EDIT: I only knew the first part of the story! A volunteer reached out to me and let me know that the mom and son DID eventually connect and hug after 18 months of not having any contact. Mom told our volunteer over and over again, "I don't think you realize what you people are doing. You just don't understand what happened tonight and how amazing you people are. Now I know why my washer broke. Thank you so much!" And now I'm in tears. THIS, friends. THIS.

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