Tide started it’s Loads of Hope program after Hurricane Katrina, and has been laundering clothes for disaster victims since. Joplin’s EF-5 tornado has broken several historic records already … now laundry is among them.
John Russell says as of day three on the scene, they’d taken in more loads of laundry from the victims of the Joplin tornado than at any other disaster — about 1,400 loads. Tide is parked at the Wal-Mart that’s still standing, bagging and tagging dirty laundry for those affected by the storm. The mobile laundro-mat is equipped with more than 20 washers and dryers.
And though the Tide truck as been all over the country, Russell says he can understand why the needs in Joplin exceed those of most natural disasters he’s worked through… he says it’s the worst devastation he’s ever seen. And coming from someone in his line of work, that’s saying something.
But he says Joplin’s spirit and character matches the scope of the disaster, and he’s been impressed by the kindness, helpfulness, work ethic and determination of its people. Some of which he’s been working alongside …. washing and folding laundry to ease the strain of its victims.
Russell says they’re not just giving victims clean clothes, they’re giving them time, and one less thing to worry about. He says he sees their faces, hears their stories and can tell that he and the Tide crew eases the strain, makes a difference.