As we wait to celebrate God coming to us in Christ, we are called to consider what we might do for others in Christ’s name. Special Christmas Offering Envelopes may be left on the offering plate any Sunday in December to support the Community Laundry Co-op, the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Marco Depestre Foundation for Haiti. Other ways to give back to the community can be seen at StAndrewsOttawa.ca/christmas#giving
The Community Laundry Co-operative (CLC) was founded in 1999 with the collaboration of three downtown organizations: First United Church, Downtown Community Health Centre and McLeod-Stewarton United Church (now called Centretown United Church). Since the beginning, CLC programming has focused on supporting people living alone and those on low incomes. More than half of the active members of the Coop suffer from mental illness and three-quarters rely on financial assistance from social programs such as Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Programme.
It is clear that clean linen contributes to better personal hygiene and self-esteem. But the impact of the Community Laundry Co-operative is much more important than that. Our programmes enhance the personal and social development of members and contribute to building a strong community. The Laundry Coop responds uniquely to a concrete need of disadvantaged people while helping with social integration.
During the years 2015-2016 the Community Laundry Coop faced significant challenges. Several strategic changes by our traditional funders significantly reduced our funding. To reduce costs, we were forced to eliminate our position as Executive Director leaving only one part-time employee. As a result, we went from six days of operation to four days, leaving people waiting impatiently to do their laundry.
Fortunately, we have been able to meet these challenges through our generous donors and the efforts of our staff, our members, and our volunteers. Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, we were able to add one day per opening week to our schedule. A grant from Project Clear Skies allowed us to buy two new washing machines.
To help reduce the impact of our financial difficulties, our members have undertaken a series of fundraisers, including bake sales, game nights and other events. These events contributed over $ 3,000 to our organization. This illustrates their commitment to growth and the success of our organization.
In addition, we have added 4 talented and enthusiastic members to our Board of Directors.
Loyal and caring volunteers are always at the heart of the Community Laundry Coop.