“If you are convinced of something, you should act on it,” sophomore Brandon Parsons said. “Those who claim to know God should act like Jesus.”
That was the mindset of Corey Easterday when he began reaching out to the city of Canton.
Easterday grew up in poverty and around many homeless people. During his junior year of college, he decided to make a difference and began collecting change. He raised more than $300 to go into the laundromats and serve his community by paying for their laundry.
He then found out about Current, which is an organization that leads laundromat service projects within Tampa Bay.
Current helped with the financial side of Easterday’s project. After talking with the head of Current in March and after five months of training, Easterday began Canton’s Laundry Love Project in 2010.
The Ohio Laundry Love Project is an extension of Current of Tampa Bay, Inc., partnered with Love Canton, which assists low-income people with meeting a basic need-washing clothes and linens.
Laundry Love Project is advertised throughout Canton and is a community event in Canton, which meets once a month in three cities at five laundromats.
“I wanted to help people,” Easterday said. “And to do what Christ has called us as Christians to do.”
[pullquote]“I wanted to help people,” Easterday said. “And to do what Christ has called us as Christians to do.”[/pullquote]
The goal of the Laundry Love Project is to bring the gospel of Christ to the community through 1 John 3:18, “Loving in action and in truth.”
Laundry Love puts volunteers into a position where they can build relationship with people, and make them “one of their own” rather than just an object. It gives a way to “tangibly love people.” They bring several hundred dollars in quarters, all necessary laundry supplies, and activities for children, and refreshments.
Inevitably, people ask, “What’s the catch?” There is no catch; they are simply there to show love to those in need.
They believe that through their volunteers, funds and ongoing commitment, they can help relieve “one” stress for those who struggle daily to make ends meet.
Easterday does not want people to feel nervous to talk strangers.
“You can do it,” Easterday said. “And following Jesus means saying yes to what Jesus has called us to do.”
The Laundry Love Project has been expanding in Ohio for the past two years. Since then, Easterday has coached two high school girls who want to love their community through Christ’s love in Canal Fulton. People in Orrville also have contacted Easterday, and he has coached them in the same way.
In the past two years, the Ohio Branch of Current has rapidly expanded to three cities in five different laundromats, but Laundry Love has been spreading nationwide as well.
People have contacted Easterday from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Atlanta, who are all interested in reaching out to the poor and oppressed in their areas.
“Helping the community has showed me a big glimpse of what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like,” Easterday said.
Visit their website at Ohiolaundrybycurrent.org . For more information call 1 330.956.8581, or e-mail Ohiolaundrybycurrent@gmail.com.
Where are they located within Canton?
Professional Coin Laundry, 1816 9th St. SW, Canton, OH 44706
White Rose Laundromat, 3019 Cleveland Ave. SW, Canton, OH 44707
Bubbles & Bleach, 1127 12th St. NW, Canton, OH 44703
All dates are Saturdays and all projects are 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Scott Whitaker is a contributing writer to The Aviso AVW.