By Sharon Mager
BRUNSWICK, Md—First Baptist Church of Brunswick, in an effort to reach those in their community who are living paycheck to paycheck, scraping to get by, decided to meet folks where they are—at the laundromat.
“Most of them can’t afford washers and dryers, so they gather their baskets and bags, scrounge the quarters, and sit watching their clothes go around and around,” Phil Graves, pastor of FBC Brunswick, said.
The church, using funds from a Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Strengthening Churches Grant, bought laundry supplies—detergent, dryer sheets, and stain sticks, along with snacks and a baggie of quarters and they put them in baskets for church members to distribute as they had time.
“We put together 90 baskets, and they’re almost all gone, “ Graves said.
“We have people enthusiastically taking them, stopping by the local shopping center and giving them to people. And we do it with no expectations,” Graves said. There’s no sermon, no Bible thumping, just a simple act of kindness from the church.
“We want to show them we love and care about them,” Graves said.
“People are very appreciative and surprised because, who cares about someone doing laundry? You know how much of a hassle it is to do a load of laundry. These people have to make sure they have enough quarters and then they sit there. Many are working two and three jobs and now they have to take the time to go to the laundromat.”
Church member Echo Morris and Valerie Davis, church secretary, were among those who delivered the baskets.
Morris said she was a little nervous at first about handing out the baskets. “You never know how people’s responses will be when you give them things. It may make them uneasy,” she said.
She found her fears to be unfounded. “It was way more simple than I thought it would have been,” she said.
Davis said, “They were just so incredibly thankful that we would take time out of our day come and chat with them, and pray with them. It was an awesome opportunity to connect with people, to reach out and let people know we care and want to be involved in our community.”