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We’re sharing the stories of ministries in congregations around the diocese, celebrating the incredible work being done on the local level. In this local ministry profile, Susan Thomson of Christ Church, Blaine speaks about “Loads of Love.”

Loads of Love came out of the Mary Helen Windell Outreach Committee (MHWOC). Mary Helen was a parishioner at Christ Church Blaine who was passionate about social justice and helping the community. After her death in 2016, the Rev. Dawn Foisie, our priest at the time, and six parishioners, formed the Mary Helen Windell Outreach Committee in her honor. We set out to figure out what ways we could help the Blaine community that weren’t already being addressed by other programs in the area.

One thing we came up with is “Loads of Love,” patterning it after another national program called Laundry Love. We started in late 2017, and what we do is go to the local laundromat on the first and third Mondays of the month and give out quarters, soap, and dryer sheets to anyone who would like the help. We are there from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. We have a limit of six loads per family and three loads for an individual.

Before COVID hit us, the nights at the laundromat were like a happy community event. We had coffee and water and cookies and sandwiches and lots of children with their parents getting their laundry clean while socializing with others. We have made many friends and have watched children grow.

With the arrival of COVID masking and distancing, we had to come up with a safe way to proceed with this ministry. It was clear from the beginning that there would be an even greater need for our services and none of us wanted to stop the ministry. Where we used to be able to be inside with the customers, it was clear we had to change our procedures to remain safe. We moved the operation to the outside, across the street from the parking area to a plastic table with shoe boxes of counted out quarters. Masks, gloves, and lots of hand sanitizer replaced the coffee and food.

You can find a PDF of our End-of-Year Report for 2020 Loads of Love at the link here. The narrative might add some more insight. We are running this program totally on faith that the funds will be there. We have changed to some stricter distribution rules to keep better control of the fund. We have also discussed going only one time per month or limiting the amount that can go out at one session. None of the options are great. We need to be careful stewards of the funds, but we don’t want to turn anyone away.

The bottom line on fundraising is that we have not figured out any way to have our “Backstage @ the Border” concert series (our major funding program for “Loads of Love”) in a way to actually make money. We did one on Facebook Live in December 2020 but it made less than $200. We have a PayPal donation page on the Christ Church website with links to that page in all our pages related to the church.

We have been lucky to have a handful of folks donate to the ministry each month so we’re not critically short yet. But we are chipping away at our balance so hopefully we can apply for other grants. I don’t think we can have in-person concerts for a while longer.

The dreams for this ministry to me would be simply to have the resources to continue. I figure we have about 6-8 months if we don’t get any other money. We’re giving out an average of $1000 per month.

“Loads of Love” is an important ministry in our community. If a story about our program goes in the diocean newsletter, maybe those who read about us would feel moved to donate something to help us keep afloat.

Despite the problems COVID has brought to the ministry, we continue to have a community of folks who we have come to know. Besides the laundry help, we have given out Christmas and Easter dinner boxes to the families each year. You asked for an example of a life that has been touched by this ministry. There are so many folks I could mention but the most memorable are people expressing how grateful they are for the help. Many have broken down in tears. Our ministry is about more than laundry. We are truly a church within a church.

If you would like to donate to “Loads of Love” and help support this vital ministry of Christ Church, Blaine, you can do so by following the link below.


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Locally Centered Ministries: “Loads of Love” from Christ Church, Blaine

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