Launch of new community anti-poverty organization
By Theresa Markila
September 18, 2017
Rockaway, N.J. – Local initiative Laundry Love of Rockaway announced today the formation of a new organization dedicated to fighting poverty and homelessness in Morris County, New Jersey.
The volunteers within this organization know that poverty and homelessness can happen to any one of us at any time. No matter how secure a person might feel, or how hard working they are, or how much of a nest egg has been saved, it only takes one illness, addiction, injury, job loss, divorce, natural disaster, or other unexpected personal crisis to potentially send a person into a spiral that leads to poverty and even homelessness. Imagine losing your job, your home, your community and safety net. When that happens, it takes a heavy toll mentally, emotionally, and physically. And if the situation persists (which it does, in the vast majority of cases), for some people it could turn into a dependency on drugs or alcohol, or into depression and suicide, or into committing crimes of necessity for survival. And the longer a person stays in poverty, the harder it is to get out. And even if someone does get out, there are still lingering effects that could last the rest of their lives. This doesn’t only affect the individuals involved, it affects all of society, and so we cannot afford to ignore the problem.
This week Laundry Love of Rockaway is announcing the launch of a new endeavor to provide those most in need with a way to clear barriers to regaining economic stability and to provide all of our friends and neighbors a safe, dignified, non-affiliated, welcoming-to-everyone, hand-up in their struggles. Members of the community will help each other to secure clean clothing, food to eat, access to education, assistance with finding employment or filing for social services, tutoring, life coaching, social interactions, exercise and much more.
About Laundry Love of Rockaway
After Hurricane Sandy, local Rockaway resident Tracy Dignam was standing in a laundromat with her three sons when she realized that people in her community might not have access to something as basic as doing laundry regularly, and she launched Laundry Love of Rockaway to assist them. She started with one participant named Cindy who began to bring others and, after more than two years of steady growth, the Laundry Love monthly sessions can be full of participants sharing camaraderie, snacks and drinks, information about social services, and some sense of normalcy while cleaning their clothes and bedding. Tracy says, “Cindy showed me what it was like to live in truly dire conditions, and through the months that followed, I began to think about ways to help her and others like her overcome the barriers back into society. That’s where the planning began, and through conversations with other participants over the years, the blueprint for Third Wednesday began to take shape.”
Laundry Love of Rockaway is a local chapter of a national organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
About Third Wednesday Foundation
This fall, Laundry Love of Rockaway will become part of a new undertaking called the Third Wednesday Foundation, led by Tracy Dignam and a dedicated group of volunteers, a new 501(c)(3) group working to improve our communities with projects organized and brought to life by members of our neighborhoods.
We believe that in order to truly help our neighbors break away from the cycle of poverty and homelessness, we need to start by listening to each person’s story and walking with them on their journey in order to help them get to where they want to go.
Third Wednesday is a grassroots organization, with voices and power coming from the people most in need as well as the volunteers who help them. Ms. Dignam and her volunteers ask everyone for their support as we work to help people in areas such as Rockaway and Dover find their way. When the most vulnerable among us are protected and supported, it leads to a stronger, healthier society for everyone.
Our kick-off meeting will be at the Red Hut Diner on Route 46 in Rockaway Boro, September 24th, at 3 pm. Come join us and listen to our plans. Every person can contribute to this venture in one way or another, and we will be happy to help you find a place that you will enjoy and value. We invite everyone to join us in this groundbreaking approach to poverty and homelessness.
Please go to our Facebook Page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/laundryloveofrockaway