The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 13, 2013

Church to pay for clothes washing

— As any college student can tell you, laundry is a pain when you don’t have a washer or dryer. By the time you figure in the cost of transpiration to the laundrymat — not to mention the time it takes to bundle and transport several loads of laundry and maybe a couple children — it makes more sense, over several years, to buy a washer and dryer.

Some people don’t have that option, though. Students, the working poor, and others who aren’t homeowners have to set aside a couple hours and can spend around $4 to get a load of laundry done.

Saturday, customers at Sophia Laundromat on Main Street in Sophia will get a little laundry help from the young adult group of Sunset Hills Missionary Baptist Church in Coal City.

Starting at 10 a.m., members of the group will be “feeding machines” with more than $200 worth of quarters that were raised at the annual Sophia Gospel Nights sing over the summer.

“As long as people need us, we’ll stay there — as long as we have the funds to do it,” said Sunset Hills young adult group member Jim Mills.

Mills and his wife, Rebekah, lead the group and will be joined by others who want to help the community out on “laundry day.”

Mills said the laundry initiative is a community outreach program called “Loads of Love.”

“This is (a ministry) we’d seen done in California and different states,” explained Mills. “Last year, one popped up in Beckley and had a really good turnout, so we thought we’d do it (in Sophia).”

Mills said he hopes to help ease a small burden for those who may be struggling financially and to have a good time with fellow church members and anyone else who comes to the laundrymat.

He added that the Sunset group has also served the community in other ways, by raising money at the Gospel Sing and then putting all the funds back into the community through free car washes or other services.

At Thanksgiving, he said, the church hosts a dinner for the community.

“We want to get in the community, outside the church walls, and let people know we’re right up the road,” he said. “Everybody’s welcome.

“Churches in the past have gotten a bad reputation for everybody wears a suit and tie, carries a Bible, dresses a certain way,” he said. “But at our church, it’s more of a family.”

Shirley Lin, owner of China One restaurant in Sophia, said Loads of Love is a good way for the Sunset Hills group to serve others in town.

“A lot of my customers go in there to do laundry,” said Lin. “They live in apartments and don’t have a washing machine. I think it’s good.”

Sunset Hills Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting “Community Day” at the church Sept. 28, Mills said.