Showing love through clean laundry

Greers Chapel United Methodist Church in Magnolia has gained a reputation of being “the church that does your laundry.”
Greers Chapel United Methodist Church in Magnolia has gained a reputation of being “the church that does your laundry.”

Greers Chapel United Methodist Church in Magnolia has gained a reputation of being "the church that does your laundry."

Once a month, Greers Chapel offers a free laundry service to the neighborhood at Main Wash Coin Laundry on East Main Street, through the national Laundry Love ministry.

"I thought it was an amazing thing," the Rev. Dan Read said. "I was not expecting as big of a crowd as we do."

"We are not wanting anything out of the people we are serving. The first time I saw the impact it had on these people and receiving this gift, it was overwhelming."

"It is amazing what clean clothes mean for someone and how it lifts their spirit."

 Members of Greers Chapel also provide food for those who need a fresh meal or a snack on laundry night. Photo provided by Dan Read. 
Members of Greers Chapel also provide food for those who need a fresh meal or a snack on laundry night. 

Read has been the lead pastor at Greers Chapel for a year and a half but the ministry begain in 2013.

Before coming to Magnolia, he was an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in West Memphis.

"We run about 40 in worship, but many people know us as the church that does laundry," Read said. "We use donations to pay for all of it. We provide quarters for the laundry, degtergent and fabric softener."

Read said they average about 76 loads of laundry each month. Church members usually provide some baked goods as well.

"I didn't realize people could be this nice," Read said. "It has been a real blessing for them because, for some, this is the only time they can do laundry."

"It has made a difference in my congregation too, interacting with people that they normally wouldn't interact with."

Read said they get new people that show up every month for their laundry service.

"We have gotten to know people through Laundry Love," Read said. "When we see them around town, we get to know them a little better and build a relationship."

All of the supplies are completed donated by members of the church or other interested parties. The church does supply the coins for the machines.

Lu Waters, 83, a member of Greers Chapel, said she talked the board into doing this ministry after reading a story about a church in El Dorado doing the same.

"Lu has been doing this for a long time," Read said. "She is very passionate bout it, and she helps organize everything."

 

Jerry Smith is the owner of the laundromat and Waters said he has been super friendly and helpful with the ministry. He will occasionally bring fried chicken and biscuits for all the guests and volunteers.

She said, in 2014, Greers Chapel served 148 families, and in 2016, they served 176 camilies. The numbers have only gone up since then.

"The Lord has blessed us; I can tell you that."

Sam Pierce, featured contributor, The Arkansas United Methodist Magazine

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are Engaging in ministry with the poor with their communities in ways that are transformative.

Members of Greers Chapel also provide food for those who need a fresh meal or a snack on laundry night. Photo provided by Dan Read.