Suds of Love in Nashville

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Written by Michelle Stage

From late in the day on March 2nd into the early morning hours on March 3rd, several supercell thunderstorms spawned numerous tornadoes across southeast Missouri, southern Kentucky, Tennessee, and central Alabama.

The worst of these tornadoes touched down across middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of March 3rd resulting in widespread damage and numerous injuries and fatalities. A tornado was on the ground for 50 miles. The tornado destroyed everything it came across from Cookeville to Nashville. 

I had been pondering what Nashville could do for CHI’s 40 Acts of Kindness Around the World. I could not think of anything better than helping those affected by the tornado. I started looking into different ways to volunteer. There were countless people that have shown up with food, to help move debris, and to help people relocate to new homes. “What could I benefit from if this was me?” is what I asked my self. I have six kids and clean clothes are always good! Like magic, the act of kindness was brought into light! Nashville will provide free laundry service.

Since the tornado was unexpected, the act of kindness was a spur of the moment idea. We went full speed ahead with the idea. The students and coordinators donated money, host families donated money, friends and family donated, and we had laundry supplies donated.

Suds of Love in Nashville

We advertised on Facebook that we would be at the Fabric Care Center on March 14th from 10 am- 2 pm. I had spoken to the owner of the laundromat and he was completely on board with my idea. 

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We arrived early with hand sanitizer, gloves, detergent, fabric softener sheets, assorted personal supplies, coloring books and crayons, bottles of water, oranges, and $740.00 in quarters! 

Twelve high school exchange students were able to come help at the laundromat. They held poster signs outside, put money in the machines, colored with small children, and interacted with everyone that came to the laundromat. 

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Brenda Williams, a local volunteer, has her own Facebook group where she helps people in her area. She was simply amazed by the smiles and happiness that outpoured from the students.

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At 2:00, we were all exhausted and ready for lunch! The small businesses are suffering in the area due to the tornado so I suggested we patronize a family-owned business! 

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At the end of the day, we had done the following with our $740.00: $490.00 to pay for laundry services$50.00 to a needy family$200.00 to the family-owned restaurant A box of personal products donated to Brenda to help with her service projects. 

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