NORMAN, Okla. – It started with free socks, but an organization to help those in need in the metro has expanded to help with laundry.
“We just have a lot of community members, neighbors, who need help with laundry,” said Brenda Wilkins, Laundry Love of Norman.
Really, it’s as simple as that, but the thought and effort behind Laundry Love are so much more.
Three years ago, Tamara Nelson started Sox of Love to give homeless and needy families in Oklahoma City clean socks and clothing. That program has been a success, but talking to their families they discovered another need.
“We learned that people were throwing their socks and their clothes in the trash. We needed to come up with a solution because we didn’t want to take peoples donations knowing that they were going into the trash. So that’s how Laundry Love was born,” said Tamara Nelson, founder of Sox of Love and Laundry Love.
As many as 50 families were able to do $10 worth of whites and darks.
“It’s humbling to ask for help on anything and especially for something personal like laundry,” said Wilkins.
“It helps them to have economic relief so they can put gas in their car, pick up their prescriptions, to go to a job interview, to be able to look the part so they can be the person they always were meant to be,” said Nelson.
Families are also able to get a free meal courtesy of corporate and local church donations.
The first Free Laundry Day happened in Oklahoma City in August of 2018.
Since then, Del City also has added free Saturday, but today’s event was in Norman at the Sooner Wash.
The project hits close to home for the owner, originally from Hong Kong.
“When I first came to this country many years ago, a lot of people helped me and, now I’m in a position I can give a little bit back to the community. A lot of people need help, we have the facility and we are glad to help,” said Kwai Wah Pang, owner of Sooner Wash Laundromat.
Plans are underway to get the suds working in south OKC and in El Reno. Nelson sees Sox and Laundry Love’s success as a product of her home.
“It’s not in Oklahoma to quit on anything that’s not what we do we love our people,” said Nelson.