‘Laundry Project’ Helping Clean Up Community

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Laundromats might not be the first thing people think of as a place that looks good in the community, or one that they want to go to, but one non-profit is trying to change that.

It’s called the Laundry Project. Based out of Tampa, Florida, the Laundry Project goes to laundromats in under-served neighborhoods and, for one day, pays for everyone’s laundry. Members of the group also revitalize the outside of the laundromats to make them points of beauty in the community.

On Saturday, the Laundry Project was in Des Moines at the Wash-N-Dry Inc. on E. University Avenue, paying for loads and painting a mural on one of the walls.

"Laundry, for a lot of people, if you have a washer and dryer, it’s something we take for granted, it’s just something that’s a normal everyday thing," said Jason Sowell, president and founder of the Laundry Project. "For a lot of families, it’s more of a luxury for them. They don’t own a washer or dryer, they live in some transitional housing of some kind, and for a lot families they’re choosing between buying groceries and washing their clothes, and food is always going to win that battle. So as a result, a lot of families go months, sometimes five or six months, without washing their clothes.

Those who came out also were able to get free health screenings and flu shots from a mobile clinic.