A Carpinteria nonprofit youth foundation is helping ease COVID-19’s financial burden on the community by helping cover laundry costs.
The Pro Deo Foundation provides “laundry bags” filled with supplies like detergent, dryer sheets and coins to pay for washing machine time at local laundromats.
Chief Operating Officer Dave Roberts said the foundation has donated approximately 150 laundry bags over the past four weeks. Foundation staff distributes the bags from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesdays at Professional Wash Center, 4416 Via Real, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays at Linden Laundry & Laundromat, 887 Linden Ave. They also provide a table of household essentials like soap and bleach.
“When COVID-19 hit, obviously our program got sheltered for a while and so we’re trying to figure out ways to serve the community here in Carpinteria. We wanted to figure out where some of the gaps were, what some of the needs were. The food distribution was being handled through the schools with their lunch programs and with Santa Barbara Food Bank in conjunction with Boys and Girls Club and the Carpinteria Children’s Project. So we were thinking, ‘What else can we do to serve our community and help people who might have needs?’ We thought maybe we could help people with their laundry,” Mr. Roberts said.
The foundation works with local high schools to provide business and entrepreneurship training programs for students through Coastland student shop on Linden Avenue.
Foundation staff teach students to make and sell products like soaps, bracelets and engraved woodwork. Mr. Roberts said the foundation is working to maintain its connection to students while mandatory stay-at-home orders remain effective.
“Aside from the laundry, we have provided and made available to the students that have been in our program grocery cards for them and their families to help offset the cost of food. Some of our students come from financially difficult situations so we want to help offset the cost of that. Some parents aren’t working or haven’t found work and lost jobs, so we just want to be able to provide for them and their families in this time of need so we have been providing grocery cards to Smart & Final,” Mr. Roberts said.
So far the foundation has given out 25 $50 gift cards and Mr. Roberts said they will hand out more based on need.
He added that the foundation is still looking for new ways to help support the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We kind of had to pivot a little bit. Our mission is youth, but you know we’re open to saying that we want to be a helping agent in the community and help a broader spectrum of people who are in need not just focus solely on youth during this time,” Mr. Roberts said.
For more information, visit prodeofoundation.org.