Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tide - When Clean Laundry Spells Compassion

Long before Casinos dotted the Gulf Coast and long before they were wiped away by hurricane Katrina, I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi. Debbie, my best friend at the time, bought a house on the back bay with her husband. Tom was in the military and this house represented a stable future. No matter what came their way, the house in Biloxi belonged to them...home base at the end of a long career.

Six months before he retired hurricane Katrina battered the little house, flooded it with several feet of water, and rendered it unlivable. When the time came, they moved back anyway and planned to rebuild their dream.

Recently, a letter came in the mail from my dear friend. For the past two years they've been living in a camper while they slowly reclaimed their lives in Biloxi. I couldn't help but think about the things they've sacrificed during that time and how hard daily life must have been. They are truly strong people and I admire them greatly.

I wondered how Debbie managed the simple tasks like cooking and laundry. That reminded me
of a program I'd heard of shortly after Katrina left her devastation. Loads of Hope is a mobile laundry service run by Tide, owned by Procter & Gamble. They moved their mobile laundry mat into New Orleans and opened up shop, washing, folding, and delivering clean clothes back to the weary people of Saint Bernard Parish.

During that time Loads of Hope washed over 20,000 loads of clothes for free, providing an invaluable service. This is a textbook example of "offering up your unique skills and talents". The conversation at the Tide company must have gone something like this.

Executive #1, "Those poor people. Some one shoud do something."

Executive #2, "We could write a check to the Red Cross."

Executive #1, "But that's so impersonal. There must be something WE can do."

Assistant pouring coffee for Executive #1 whispers timidly, "Well, we could wash their clothes."

And there you go.....a grand idea.

Loads of Hope was such a success and morale booster for the residents it helped that Tide wants to keep the program going. They plan to send their mobile units out in response to future natural disasters. They rushed out to California after the wildfires a few months ago and are still there washing sheets and clothes damaged by the smoke.

If you'd like to show your support for this program you can purchase a tee shirt for $15.00. On the front is the vintage Tide logo. The back says Loads of Hope. All of the proceeds will go to help families rebuild after a natural disaster.

I hope that other companies follow Tide's lead and look at the unique help they can offer to philanthropic causes. It does a good turn for the world and gives the employees a sense of pride in the accomplishments of their company.

In the letter from my friend she passed on thanks to all the people and organizations that have helped to make life easier during their long period of recovery. I'm sure the people who used the Tide Loads of Hope service feel the same way.

Look on their website for Loads of Hope mobile locations if they can be of help to you.


mikster said...

Definitely a unique idea. Thanks for posting this. I wasn't aware Tide had even done anything like this.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I thought it was a cool idea, especially when you see the truck they take around to do the laundry...quite inovative.


Gale Rainwater said...

Lisa you have a great heart, keep up the good work.

Lisa McGlaun said...


That's very sweet of you to say.

Best Wishes,