Afternoon of free laundry takes load off for Tampa families

Washing, drying and folding laundry may seem like a hassle sometimes but for those who don't own washers or dryers, weekly laundromat costs can add up, especially around the holidays. 

Tuesday afternoon, dozens of families at Big Wash West Tampa got a take a load off. For three hours, all washers, dryers, and laundry supplies were free.

"We call it organized chaos," laughed Jason Sowell, president and founder of Current Initiatives. 

The non-profit teamed up with the Tampa Police Department to host their third Laundry Project.  

"A lot of people live without washers or dryers," Sowell said. "They're having to use laundromats which are expensive to use, time-consuming, and a lot of these families are choosing between buying groceries and washing their clothes."

Officers helped with the heavy lifting and spent time talking with the kids.

"We're helping put the laundry in the machines, getting them dry, getting them in and out of their cars," said Deputy Chief Ruben Delgado. "This is why we do it. This is why we are in the neighborhood."

For a large family, all those quarters, week after week, can be a burden.

"I had like seven loads," said Jakerra Carter. "I am a family of five so I knew I need this, saving a little bit of money in my pocket."

To date, the Laundry Project has washed more than 135,000 loads of laundry for more than 13,000 families across the country.

"I've heard single dads talk about fighting with their kids to send them to school because they were embarrassed because they didn't have clean clothes and couldn't afford to do it," Sowell said.

It's a humbling reminder that what some consider a chore, others consider a blessing.

"This is a blessing," said Julia Beckham. "Some people say the economy is great, but, I guess that depends on who you are. This is a great help to me, around Thanksgiving and the holidays."

This is the third time TPD and Current Initiatives have teamed up for a Laundry Project. They can always use help from volunteers or donations such as detergent, rolls of quarters, fabric softener and laundry baskets. You can learn more about what they do at