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Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Suds for social change: Dignity, detergent and Laundry Love MHK

Local clean clothes initiative provides families with five free loads of laundry every month
Elizabeth Sandstrom
Sud’s Y’r Duds Laundromat hosts Laundry Love 5:00-9:00p.m every Tuesday. Anyone is encouraged to attend and will receive up to 5 free loads of laundry with detergent and dryer sheets.

On the second Tuesday of every month, the washing machines at Suds Y’r Duds Laundromat double down on work, whirling and bubbling almost nonstop into the evening. The provided wash and dry cycles, detergent and dryer sheets are all thanks to Laundry Love MHK, a part of a nationwide initiative which provides clean clothes and bedding to low and no-income families.

For Krystin Guggisberg, the steady hum of the whirling washers represents more than clean clothes; it represents the health of Manhattan.

Guggisberg and her sister started Laundry Love MHK in 2017 after seeing its success in Hutchinson. Following Manhattan’s Laundry Love success, Junction City also started a program.

“What we offer to anyone who comes in, regardless of expressed need or not, is five free loads of laundry,” Guggisberg said. “We’ve just seen the way clean laundry can go a long way in terms of kids staying in schools; parents feel comfortable going to a job interview. We’ve seen all sorts of people come through the doors and it’s just really nice to be able to help them in this small way. You think clean laundry is just a part of everyday life, but for some people, it’s not, so it really does make a difference.”

As guests come in, volunteers greet them at the door, direct them to a signup sheet and help them through the Laundry Love process.

“Being as close as we are to K-State, we honestly get people who stumble in having no idea we’re here or what we’re doing,” Guggisberg said. “We had a mom who had come to visit a student during finals week and wanted to take the burden of washing clothes off the student. So she came here just to do laundry, and we stepped in and said we would love to help you do this laundry and fund it, and she was so gracious and thankful.”

Beyond providing the community with an average of 140 to 150 loads of laundry every month, Guggisberg helps the community by getting to know the people who come in and listening to their concerns.

“One thing I enjoy is participating in a monthly meeting with the Riley County Council of Social Service Agencies,” Guggisberg said. “So once a month, we get in the same room over lunch and just talk about the services we’re providing. And so if I talk to a family and I hear that they’re struggling with food, I can send them to the Breadbasket or send them over to the common table for a meal.”

Amanda Hawkins, a volunteer for Laundry Love, said getting to know the people who come to Laundry Love events is one of the work’s most important and rewarding parts.

“We receive a lot of gratitude for what we’re doing,” Hawkins said. “It’s something I’ve worked hard to incorporate into my monthly routine so that my kids can see what it looks like to give back … that I’m more than just my nine to five.”

Community members and organizations can support Laundry Love MHK through monetary donations — especially quarters — volunteering time or donating detergent and dryer sheets.

“The senior center has a donation jar in their lobby that they call their ‘Swear Jar,’ and they encourage people to drop change into it,” Guggisberg said.

According to Laundry Love MHK’s Instagram, the Riley County Senior’s Service Center’s Laundry Love “Swear Jar” raised over $70 in January 2023.

The program was originally funded through private donations from family, friends and local churches. In 2019, Laundry Love MHK was awarded grants from the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, and last year was awarded a Sustainability Grant, Guggisberg said.

“It really fluctuates, but I would say that on average, [the event costs] between $600 and $100 a month,” Guggisberg said. “The end goal is to be able to have an endowed fund through the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, which comes with enhanced fundraising opportunities.”

Guggisberg said that starting an endowed fund with the GMCF requires $10,000. The GMCF invests that money, which is untouchable to non-profits, and uses the revenue to help fund non-profits long-term.

“Our main focus is ensuring our month-to-month events stay afloat while we grow that fund,” Guggisberg said. “We’re looking pretty good for this Riley County year in terms of detergent and dryer sheets, but quarters are the hardest to come by. And by quarters, I mean monetary donations in general; I’m always happy to turn a $20 donation into quarters.”

Those looking for more information on Laundry Love MHK can visit their Facebook page:

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About the Contributor
Kaitlynn Faber
Kaitlynn Faber, arts & culture editor
A&C editor for spring 2024. Previously asst. A&C editor for fall 2023 and writer for 2022-23.
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