PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An advocacy group kicks off its third annual season of Community Wash Days, where single mothers are invited to wash their clothes for free at laundromats across Philly.
The Community Wash Days are organized by SistaTalkPHL twice a month from August through October and three times in November.
Founder Adam McNeil said when it comes to helping people in need, the lack of clean clothes is sometimes overlooked.
“When mothers have multiple children or even one child, they consume a lot of laundry,” he said. “Sometimes [kids] have to go to school with dirty clothes and it makes you stand out. It makes you feel less of a person when you're really not.”
Doing laundry that frequently can also be expensive.
“Some of our residents, because of all the gun violence, they don't want to walk around their community. So they’ll hop in an Uber, hop on the bus — but that’s a cost to them to get to and from,” McNeil noted.
SistaTalkPHL rents different laundromats in the city for Community Wash Days. The organization holds them during the more temperate weather months so they can set up additional services in the parking lot. There, mothers can find community partners to help them with utility assistance, free period products, diapers and more.
“I just thought that it would be a safe space for moms,” McNeil said, “and I thought that it would also serve as a refueling station for so many of our sisters in the city that are tapped out.”
Community Wash Days are only offered to women and single mothers — people McNeil credits the most with helping him through his own eight years in prison.
“If it wasn’t for the women [in my life], I wouldn’t be here talking to you because they’ve saved me. So I owe this to them,” he said.
“My legacy is incarceration and the streets, but I’m trying to change that now, and I want to leave something impactful. … I don’t think that they will ever be proud until I put a dent in this world.”
The first Community Wash Day is Thursday at Xtreme Laundromat, located at 5952 Old York Road. Check SistaTalkPHL’s website for future dates.