Washers and Dryers Bring Opportunity
Every mom, regardless of resources or income level, wants more time in the day. For Saint Louise House families, time is especially precious because it translates into opportunity – the opportunity to gain more education, seek gainful employment, transport children to quality childcare, and care for their family. Imagine the time involved with taking laundry and children on the bus to a laundromat to ensure clean clothes for your family. Saint Louise House families will now have washers and dryers in their homes thanks to a generous donation from FT Cares Foundation and First Trust Portfolios. However, that time comes with an additional price for Saint Louise House …. higher utility expense as well as the increased costs of repair and maintenance.
“The washers and dryers are coming! The washers and dryers are coming!”
This shout was heard in the parking lot days before the washers and dryers were scheduled to arrive. It was just one sign of the palpable excitement surrounding the arrival and installation of washers and dryers in the apartment homes of our Saint Louise House families.
The excitement was warranted. These washers and dryers will make a real difference in the everyday lives of the mothers and children at Saint Louise House. The only on-site laundry facility at this complex has been a single washer and dryer accessible only during program office hours. That’s one washer and one dryer for as many as 24 families including anywhere from 24 to 96 children. The lack of laundry facilities has meant that mothers have had to hope that the machines would be free during times when they were not at work or at school or otherwise supporting their children single-handedly, or they have had to find transportation and time to go to the laundromat, usually with children in tow. For the single mothers at Saint Louise House, getting the laundry done each week has been just one more challenge to overcome.
All that will change with the installation of a washer and dryer in each apartment. Mothers will now be able to do laundry in their own homes. No more scrounging for quarters for the laundromat. No more carving out hours each week to spend doing laundry out of the home. Families will now have more time to spend together and work toward goals that will strengthen self-sufficiency.
We see these washers and dryers as a big step forward in making every day less of a burden for Saint Louise House families. We are very grateful to FT Cares Foundation and First Trust Portfolios. Over the past three years, First Trust has worked with us to identify thoughtful, creative ways to support the families living at Saint Louise House. They started small, with a donation of pantry items and toiletries. Their involvement has grown, and they have completely outdone themselves this year by raising the funds to purchase and install washers and dryers in all 24 apartments at one Saint Louise House property, as well as provide a year’s worth of laundry supplies to each family.
This story, however, is about so much more than one partner investing in Saint Louise House.
Like every story at Saint Louise House, it is a story about the power of community. We are grateful to FT Cares Foundation and First Trust Portfolios for investing in Saint Louise House families by funding the purchase and installation of these washers and dryers. However, their investment alone did not make this project possible. This project was made possible by our entire community of support for families.
Washers and dryers for these apartments have been considered since the day we purchased this complex in 2008. The hookups were there. However, there were also risks. Washers and dryers in every apartment mean higher utility bills and maintenance costs for Saint Louise House. They also mean a higher risk of fire or expensive water damage to apartments.
Flash forward ten years. Saint Louise House currently has multi-year funding commitments from no fewer than five different funding partners. Over 150 households have shown their commitment to our long-term financial stability by joining our Legacy Circle. Dedicated community volunteers invest tremendous time and effort to lead two major fundraising events supporting Saint Louise House families each year.
Like the mothers at Saint Louise House, we as an organization feel strong. We feel empowered by our community of support to take big steps forward in supporting the families in our care. We are ready to take on these costs and the risks because we have faith in our community to carry us through.
And so we say thank you.
Thank you to new partners FT Cares Foundation and First Trust Portfolios who are willing to make targeted, concrete contributions that will have an immediate impact on the lives of our families.
Thank you to loyal partners, like our Legacy Circle Members and community groups who have supported us consistently for many years. You have made it possible for us to take the leap, knowing that we as an organization can handle the extra cost and the extra risk for the sake of Saint Louise House families.
Thank you for being a part of a community of support that empowers mothers and children to overcome homelessness.