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South Bend laundromat recognized for offering free "Washing Wednesdays" for homeless

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A South Bend laundromat is being recognized for its work to help those less fortunate. Burton’s Laundry on Western Avenue has been working with several organizations.

An idea to help a few has turned into a weekly program offering assistance many of us wouldn’t think twice about.

Putting in a load of laundry seems ordinary right? But what if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your home? Now imagine you don’t even have a home.

"This is something that our more vulnerable residents have to face each and every day and something we have to come together as a community to address," said Mayor James Mueller.

It’s a partnership between the city of South Bend, the St. Joseph County Health Department, and SAVE. Every Wednesday, they rotate free laundry service for the homeless and families in need.

"We’re talking about children that go into schools, so they feel clean with they go to school. Maybe that work interview, so they can look crisp in the walk-in to go for that job," said South Bend council member Sheila Nizegodski.

In the last year, more than 24,000 lbs. of laundry has been washed thanks to David Nufer, owner of Burton’s Laundry. He was recognized today for his support.

"He immediately opens his heart and his business that if you come to my western store, you won’t have to pay for washing powder or bleach," said SAVE Director Canneth Lee.

"He made an investment and then he made a further investment because he believes in helping people," said Nizegodski.

Regina Clemons says it’s been a blessing for her and her husband the last four months as they have battled homelessness.

"Keeping the bedbugs away and keeping the clean clothes. That helps," said Clemons.

But she says this support goes beyond clean clothes.

"It teaches you how to be responsible, teach you how to be on your own, and teach you how to be stronger."

A population that often gets overlooked, Nufer says this is his way to do his part.

"Trying to form more partnerships with other different businesses so the people that are in the most need can get that type of help."

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Nufer says he hopes this can inspire other businesses to ask how they can offer some of their services to help. That way, the issues people see in the community can be tackled together.

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