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FREE LAUNDRY: The Laundry Project helps community wash away worries during coronavirus pandemic

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- A local non-profit is making sure Tampa Bay area residents have clean clothes during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Laundry Project, created by Florida non-profit organization, Current Initiatives, is providing complimentary laundry services to those impacted by the coronavirus, like lower-income families or hospitality workers currently out of work.

“We provide all the quarters, all the soap, supplies that a family needs. So, when they come into the laundromat, they don’t have to worry about that financial burden that a lot of these families carry,” said President and founder of Current Initiatives Jason Sowell. “We try to alleviate that burden for them in those few hours, and just provide a good fun day for them at the laundromat.”

On Tuesday, the Laundry Project took over 24 Hour Coin Laundry on North Nebraska Avenue in Tampa and turned the laundromat into more of a community center.

“We’ve actually have been doing this for 12 years in the Tampa Bay area but they’re not as often. So for context, we typically do about 80 laundry projects in an entire year. In the past 15 weeks, we’ve done 42 projects, so, it’s definitely ramped up,” said Sowell. “It’s a lot more of a need than it is on a regular basis.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Sowell estimates that The Laundry Project and its volunteers, called ‘Hope Dealers’, have helped with over 8,000 loads of laundry. That translates into clean clothes for almost 900 families.

Tampa Heights resident, Samari Aragon tells WFLA.com, she’s been taking advantage of the laundry service for weeks.

“During these times, like every penny counts,” said Aragon. “I’m just trying to take advantage of that and cut back in little areas because I’m also a hospitality worker. I work in an industry, as you all know, has been impacted quite a bit. So, I’m trying to take advantage of programs like these.”

Clothes weren’t the only thing being refreshed at the laundromat.  

Just outside, a mural was painted on the building’s wall by Tampa-based artist Leo Trevino of Rad Red Creative. Sowell explains that the mural is a part of the non-profits #CLEANcampaign.

“The Clean Campaign is all about working with mural artists to beautify the laundromat buildings in these areas. So, we’ll bring in professional mural artists and they’ll do a beautiful mural on the side of the laundromat. That positive message for the community is to not just bring some love and hope inside the laundromat but to help beautify the neighborhood and to bring that love and hope to the outside of the laundromat as well. So, this is our 25th clean mural that’s being done on this laundromat here today,” said Sowell.

To learn about The Laundry Project’s next location takeover and how you can receive complimentary service, visit their website or Facebook page.  

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