Good works is rare to find these days, and yet, here it is happening and all started by a young girl. She is now 16-year old Caroline Gowan and she is showing just how incredible the power of serving those in need can be.
Of course there are many who serve in the soup kitchens and make a huge different, however what Caroline is showing us through her example is that there are so many other opportunities to serve, and touch the lives of those seeking solace or even just simple kindness.
Two years ago, when she was then 14-years old, Caroline began a Girl Scouts project. Washing clothes at a local laundromat. She provides the soap, the coinage and fluff and fold service. Along with local music artists from her church..
Her service project is called loads of love, and it was only suppose to last 6 months, but here she is on 23 months and plans to continue going for as long as she is able.
Now, every second Friday of the month, you will not find Caroline at the movie theater. Instead, she can be found hanging out with her friends at Git-R-Dun Too Laundromat in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Caroline remembers when she first had her idea for this unique service. “I needed something to make an impact in the community and I thought this would be the best way,” she said.
Her mother, Michelle Gowan, added, “There is a way to get food and a way to get clothes, but was nowhere to get your laundry done (for free). The need is so great.”
Initially, she advertised with fliers at local food pantries to spread the word about providing laundry care. The first night, Caroline and her volunteers did 30 loads of laundry; spending $115 in quarters in the process.
As the news spread, the number of attendees increased exponentially. After only a few months, they were doing nearly 100 loads of laundry a night!
Caroline’s church, Bonaire United Methodist, agreed to partner with her in order to continue the ministry going and many members volunteer to help as well. The youth group is even involved as they play with many of the children who accompany their parents to the laundromat.
Judging by numbers alone, Caroline’s mission has been a huge success. But if you were to ask her, the success is not found in how many people they are able to help but in how deeply they have been able to change the lives of everyone involved.
“Some people judge others on the way they look, or the way they smell or the way they act,” Caroline says. “They can be a great person in dirty clothes. So they can come here, and get their clothes washed.”
What she says has surprised her the most is that most of the people she serves are not at all homeless, and in fact, many of them are stuck in low-paying jobs but are still barely able to get things paid each month.
“I spend anywhere from $20 to $30 washing clothes, and for it to be free is a tremendous blessing to me because it means that money can go on to another bill that I have. It is very helpful,” says Shakira Sneed. “This is a blessing to me and to the others here.”
Carolina says she is constantly reminded of God’s love for her, and she fully believes that she is able to see Jesus in the faces of those who she provides serve to.
She’s a pretty amazing gal.
“I feel like not only am I doing something for the people around me and that I am doing something for people I don’t even know, but that I’m doing something for the Lord,” she says. “I am doing Jesus’ laundry! No matter how big or small, He would do it, and so can I…They come with their dirty laundry and leave with a renewed spirit.”
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