A laundromat owner offers a new spin on how to help the homeless.
Samuel Van De Cruze, who recently opened Mr. Bubbles in Queens, New York, spent 60 hours washing, drying and folding clothes for homeless families pressed for time.
By his own estimate, Van De Cruze, a former social worker, did roughly 5,000 pounds of laundry after hours between March 28 and 31 for 75 shelter residents living in The Landing -- a nearby family homeless shelter, run by the nonprofit CAMBA, which provides services to people in need.
He even picked up and dropped off the loads.
He said the act was “in the spirit of Easter” and this is the first time he has done something like it.
“As a Christian, I’ve been taught to do good works,” Van De Cruze told The Huffington Post. “During my devotions one morning, the thought came to me to do this.”
According to a press release by CAMBA, Van De Cruze’s idea was inspired by the challenges he saw his homeless patrons face on a regular basis. They have to walk long distances with heavy loads and young children, and the cost of doing laundry is a burden on these families. As a former social worker, he immediately recognized these challenges and wanted to offer practical help.
“Normally I spend almost $30 on laundry weekly, which has to come from my PA income,” Catina B., a resident of The Landing, said in a statement, provided to HuffPost. “And doing laundry with a 3-year-old is always difficult for both of us. This (donation from Mr. Bubble’s) means that this week both she and I won’t have to go through that -- and I will be able to save this $30 for something else.”
And sometimes that something else, isn’t a luxury, it’s a basic necessity.
“We had to save as much money as we could for food, travel, diapers and other necessities,” Amber, another resident of The Landing, said in a statement. “I was washing our clothes in the bathtub to save laundry money.”
Amber, her husband and their son had to move into The Landing after her father died and his house, where the family was living, was sold.
“I am so grateful for the burden that this lifted -- you feel like you are a little bit more of a 'somebody' when you are wearing clean clothes,” she said.
To make a donation to CAMBA, click here.