Loads of Love Shines Throughout Kansas City
“We have one young man who’s worn the same outfit for three straight days. If we had a washer and dryer here, it would be outstanding,” Dr. Butler said. “It never ceases to amaze me how a small thing like providing clean clothes turns a kid’s world around.
On this morning, Dr. Butler is preparing to greet the local media. They’re coming to promote United Way of Greater Kansas City’s Loads of Love program—from which Dr. Butler recently learned her school will benefit.
“This is cool. This is cool. This is no problem at all,” she says as she makes space in a classroom to host the TV crew. “We’re going to raise some money and we’re going to get those machines!”
Within weeks, the dream became reality. UWGKC’s donors once again came through for the community, raising more than $25,000 during this standalone cause campaign.
Along with approximately 10 other schools and school districts throughout Greater Kansas City, CAIR received their washer and dryer. Installed in a small office connected to the gymnasium, the machines represent hope for a school and its students. Now, thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors and over 100 individual donors, students across the area will have access to on-site laundry services. It increases their chances not only of attending class, but coming in with a mindset focused on performance.
That’s how Rejéanne Alomenu sees it. The principal at Primitivo Garcia Elementary School in the Kansas City Public School District has seen the impact lack of clean clothing can have on students.
“It creates a barrier that keeps them from being comfortable while they’re here,” Tucker said. “Kids have said stuff to us about not having clean clothes and how that makes them feel. These kids know we’re going to take care of them.”
That this initiative was supported by all types of people—from generous individuals giving a few dollars to corporate sponsors giving thousands of dollars—means so much to Principal Tucker and administrators like her.
“Having people in the community who want to be part of our village and contribute to the success of our students means a lot to me and means a lot to our students,” she said.
As a result of the 2019 Loads of Love Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign, more than a dozen machines have already been installed, with more being delivered every week. Ten of those were unveiled at a brand new “laundromat” facility bearing the Loads of Love name in the Hickman Mills School District during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We are not doing this alone,” said Dr. Yolanda Cargile, Superintendent of the Hickman Mills District. “We have partners like United Way in the community who have heard the needs of our students and our families, and they are supported.”
For school administrators seeing the facility for the first time, it was a true celebration.
“This initiative looked at the needs of the community and asked what we could do to support not only the child but the entire family, and the community of this district,” said Janet Miles-Bartee, Director of Caring Communities at Greater Kansas City LINC. “This is such a blessing for our families.”