How Phoenix UMC offers loads of love
Imagine living in dire straits to the point where you are unable to pay to wash your laundry? Churches in the UNY Conference, such as Whitney Point UMC, have laundry ministries that pay for and do the laundry for people in need within their communities.
Phoenix UMC started a laundry ministry, Loads of Love, this past January. They have seven church members and their pastor Justin Hood serving in this ministry. On the last Monday of every month, the ministry gathers together at The CanalView Laundromat from 5-7 p.m. Laundromat patrons who wish to have the Loads of Love ministry do their laundry sign in at 5 p.m. On the Sign-In Sheet, they advise ministry members if they want them to use their detergent and dryer sheets or if they brought their own detergent, and if they want to have their laundry folded. The patrons sort and load their own laundry. The ministry pays for the cost of the washing and drying machines and come prepared with quarters to do so. They ask that the person stay on-site while their laundry is being done. For any children present, crafts are offered, and snacks are brought for anyone interested!
The day of their first event, there was a snow blizzard and yet, two families showed up with three families' laundry! The second month, they served 8-10 families. The third month, they served five families. Surrounding community neighbors have been very supportive of this ministry, and most of their laundry detergent and other supplies have been donated. The UNY Conference Mission Central HUB offered assistance by repurposing to them laundry detergent that didn't qualify for UMCOR cleaning kit inclusion!
Judy Craigmile, Phoenix UMC member who leads this ministry, said, “Our biggest joy each month is getting to know the people who allow us to help them with their laundry expenses. Building relationships that grow into sharing about our lives and joys and struggles is what it is all about. We are growing familiar with the families who have come on a repeated basis and through our conversations, we have been able to hear about their other areas of need and have begun to pray together and act on some of the needs, assisting them in other life areas where we can. Some are clothing needs; some are parenting or education concerns. For others, it is just a listening ear and caring heart. Sometimes, it includes a ride home if the weather is bad.”
There are people unable to meet basic needs in most communities. The Phoenix UMC Loads of Love ministry team is reaching their neighbors through laundry and offering them so much more by displaying God’s love.