Free laundry day at St. Paul laundromat draws long lines

Washing machines were working overtime at the Sunray Laundromat which hosted a free laundry day. (FOX 9)

On St. Paul’s east side, people lined up for hours for a basic service that many of us take for granted: Laundry.

The Sunray Laundromat on Ruth Street in St. Paul offered free laundry for the day. After waiting two hours, Jasmine Lundy is happily in the middle of nine loads of free laundry. As the single mom of a one year old, the dirty clothes pile up almost as quickly as the stress.

"At my apartment, it's $2 per load and paying $850 for rent and then electricity," said Lundy. "Just trying to make things work for me and my son, it's kind of hard right now. Especially with COVID and everything and like I’m losing hours right now at work and trying to figure things out like that."

That’s why Jasmine and dozens of others are thankful for this unlimited free laundry day at the laundromat. The Minnesota Rapid Response Coalition put this event together.

"We are just grateful to be in a position to have this kind of impact for the east side," said Alexander Bourne with the coalition.

Bourne formed the coalition barely 72 hours after George Floyd's death to help businesses impacted by civil unrest. Now, he’s expanding in every possible direction. This free laundry day was made possible thanks to $50,000 in unrestricted funds from the CH Foundation.

"It really just equipped us with the tools and resources to do something like this but also be able to invest in a lot of the black and brown grassroots entrepreneurs, organizations, organizers, and just people," said Bourne. "We are just trying to add value to people's lives right here in the middle of COVID-19."

With detergent and even rides supplied, all the coalition asks is for a good attitude and some patience.

"I live in an apartment building and all the washing machines are broke so this was a blessing," said Lundy.

Lundy agrees the clean clothes and encouragement that comes with them is a beautiful thing.

"It helps me so much," she said. "It’s a blessing, it’s a huge blessing."

The free laundry service continues here until midnight. But beyond that, the coalition is working to help people in a variety of ways from food distribution, local entrepreneurs to even mental health. For more information on the coalition, click here.