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These Innovative Programs Give Poor Families the Means to Solve Wellness and Safety Problems

July 28, 2014
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These Innovative Programs Give Poor Families the Means to Solve Wellness and Safety Problems
The Laundry Project, a program that will provide poor families with laundry vouchers in Indiana. Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Laundry facilities are just one of the things often out of reach to low-income families.

From being able to buy enough diapers to change babies regularly to sending kids to school in clean clothes and even having the technology needed to find out about weather emergencies — all of these are things that many of us take for granted. But for poor families, they are challenges they face on a regular basis.

Fortunately, the caring people behind some new insightful programs are working to make life a little easier for poor families.

In Richmond, Indiana, Mike Duke realized that many local families couldn’t afford the four dollars it costs to wash and dry a load of laundry at a laundromat. “I see people on a daily basis who just do not have the funds for laundry,” Duke, a Wayne Township Trustee Investigator, told the Pal-Item. So he and Sharlene George of Open Arms Ministries teamed up to launch The Laundry Project, a program that will provide poor families with laundry vouchers.

Just in time to get children ready for school, The Laundry Project will kick off on July 28 with a “Back To School Laundry Bash,” at a laundromat near the homes of many poor families. George and Duke hope to expand the program to offer activities for kids while parents do laundry and receive free health screenings and education about how to stretch household dollars.

Meanwhile, in Story County, Iowa, organizations are teaming up to distribute 100 NOAA weather radios to low-income families. Melissa Spencer, deputy Story County emergency management coordinator told Melissa Erickson of the Ames Tribune, “These radios are more important for families living in mobile homes or homes without basements that may need more time to get to a safe sheltering location. Unfortunately, the relative small cost of these radios may be out of reach for these families or individuals due to a very limited income.”

The families who receive the radios will also be given emergency preparedness kits and batteries to power up the radios. “We’ve had tornadoes in Story County as late as November, and we’ve had occasions in the wintertime with blizzard-like conditions that we’ve had to close Interstate 35,” Spencer said. “This is definitely a tool that can be used year-round.”

Making these families — regardless of their income — safer and better off.

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