From KERA News:
It’s a pretty frigid December afternoon and a couple dozen volunteers are busy unloading a U-Haul truck outside J.W. Ray Learning Center in Old East Dallas. They’re delivering supplies to the elementary school – chairs, shelves, gym equipment and laundry detergent. Lots of detergent.
“Each employee, we all contributed a large container of laundry detergent, a packet of dryer sheets and $20 to go toward playground equipment,” said Lauren McGowan, a designer at Looney and Associates, a Dallas architectural firm.
Her boss and president of the firm, Jim Looney, contacted the district recently after hearing about a Dallas school that received a washer and dryer.
Looney ended up buying J.W. Ray Learning Center its own washer and dryer and got his staff to donate other items. The school is a five-minute drive from the firm.
“You know, it never dawned on me that something as simple as that – clean clothes – what an impact that made on a child’s life, especially their performance in school,” Looney said.
So far, five schools in the Dallas school district have received a washer and dryer, and 20 to 30 more Dallas schools will be getting them next year.
Tom Hayden, who oversees volunteer and partnership services for the Dallas ISD, says many families can’t afford washers and dryers or don’t have the time or money to get to laundromats. About 97 percent of students at J.W. Ray school come from low socioeconomic homes.
“There are certain communities the public would be surprised to know that don’t have washers and dryers in their homes and, a lot of times, families don’t have the resources to ensure that their kids are coming to schools in clean uniforms,” Hayden said. “Not all but a few. And that’s a stigma that that creates for them.”