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Church shows love with hot showers and laundry for homeless and those in need

A Warwick church has launched an outreach programme for persons in need of a hot shower, food and laundry facilities.

Loads of Love was inspired by a former minister at Christ Church.

Rev Barry Dunsmore was involved in a similar programme in London, England, while ministering at St Columba's Church.

He shared his idea for how such an initiative might work in Bermuda with Christ Church member Patricia Lang.

She then organised a seminar on homelessness in Bermuda for the church's parishioners. Guest speakers were Fern Wade from Hands of Love, Lionell Cann from the Salvation Army and Tony Forster from the Eliza Doolittle Society.

“We had a lot of response and then the outreach committee got involved,” said Mrs Lang, an elder and care convener at the Middle Road church. We knew we had this building, and we wanted to convert it into a shower and laundry facility.”

Cindy Campbell presented the vision for reaching out to the Island's homeless and needy to church members. “There is this idea that many ask, ‘Why don't you just go out and get a job?' But how hard is it to ask for a job when you haven't washed your clothes or had a hot shower in a month,” Mrs Campbell said. “Every one [on the street] grew up at some point in time with a family, taking showers and having clean clothes. It's about having a little bit of dignity.”

The Loads of Love building houses two washers and dryers and two private shower rooms guests can come and have a hot shower while their belongings are washed and dried. White robes, towels and spare clothes are offered while the clothes are being cleaned, or, if the need exists, guests can select a new set of clothes. They are then given something to eat. “We didn't want to replicate something that was already being offered on the Island,” Mrs Campbell said.

The committee also wanted broad support from the entire church members in support of the initiative were asked to donate the seed money for it.

The team eventually raised around $27,000, mostly in the form of $100 and $200 donations from members, as well as larger donations from other churches, companies and individuals.

The former storage facility was converted and a second bathroom was installed. Major donations were given by HWP and Bermuda Gas, in the form of washing machines and clothes dryers, as well as a selection of toiletries from BGA and washing detergents from Hunts. Daily Bread, an outreach of the Eliza Doolittle Society, is also involved and is making the rounds to help provide food to guests at Loads of Love.

Loads of Love is open Saturday mornings between 9am and 12pm. For more information telephone 236-1882 or e-mail christchurch[AT]logic.bm

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Published March 29, 2011 at 10:14 am (Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:13 am)

Church shows love with hot showers and laundry for homeless and those in need

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