Notice: Due to the pandemic, we closed our community room and canceled all of our programs on 3/16/2020. Since then, we have repurposed our grant money and have processed 265 orders for seniors 60+ for free, acquired hotspots for 44 students from ICS and Garfield Elementary schools and have helped 40 families in need of food assistance by giving away supermarket gift cards.
On April 16, 2021, we partnered with Alameda County Public Health Department to turn our parking lot into a vaccination clinic.
We have a responsibility to step up and help. Thank you to Alameda County and Libraries Without Borders for supporting this work.
In community, Laura, David and the rest of the Family Laundry Team
How We Do It
1. In 2018 we partnered with the international non-profit Libraries Without Borders to provide literacy resources to children and their families. This program has been highly successful. We installed a beautiful, clean, bright reading space. This space was previously a small store, but we converted it into a non-revenue generating space -- we are committed engaging with our immediate community.
Every day children wander in and explore the magic of books, while parents can view their children, do their laundry and engage in reading activities.
2. Our partnership with Oakland Public Library (OPL) provides our community with two story times each week. Librarians come to the Laundromat to read to children every Thursday from 10am to 11.30am. OPL provides us with books for our library on an ongoing basis. We are so grateful for the work they do with our community and communities all over Oakland!
3. We enhance the lives of community members by listening closely to what their needs are. Then we bring in community services that directly connect with what our customers say. For example, customers told us they wanted easier access to learn English as their second language. We ran two classes over the summer and have one class this Fall, right in our laundromat’s community room, for no cost. Professional instructors lead the classes. With these classes, customers don’t have to travel out of their neighborhood for a resource that is important to them.
4. While we have always talked informally with customers, this Fall we have begun a customer feedback survey. Our own Laundromat workers, who live in the community, are asking customers what they would like to see in our space. This is integral to how we plan community services for 2020. We are excited to hear from them! Stay tuned for statistics from our surveys.
“They offer very good services (to the community), because in other laundries, there are none.” - ESL class graduate
“They offer very good services, especially because they are focused on children and families in general.” - graduate of an ESL class held at Family Laundry
"The people here are loving. It’s family oriented.” - customer who lives nearby
“The people who come here are happy. They like the space for kids.” - Benita, Family Laundry worker
“When I worked at another job, no one ever asked questions of the clients. There wasn’t an exit survey.” - Luis, Family Laundry worker, commenting on why asking customers what they want is important
Want Kids to Learn the Joy of Reading? Barbershops and Laundromats Can Help. The New York Times, July 2, 2019
Want in at the Bay Area’s hottest dance party? You’ll need to bring a baby. The LA Times, October 16, 2019
Oakland laundromat promotes love of reading, offering story-time for children. KTVU, October 22, 2019
To promote and engage in listening and responding to the needs of the community. In this way, we strive to be an engaged community partner, rather than assume a hierarchical attitude towards the community.
To provide learning opportunities in a relaxed, supportive, neighborhood location. It is our belief that these factors help integrate learning in a permanent, life-enriching way.
To enable the community members to reach their goals through easier access to needed tools, such as literacy, education, health and other resources, and creative outlets for youth.
To serve as a business where all are welcomed.
To be a business where enhancing our customers’ trust in us is a part of every interaction. A key method for this is our responsiveness, both to business and community needs.
To break down barriers so that the community can prosper.
To be at the heart of the local community.
To be a place where community members know they are seen, accepted and encouraged to be themselves.
To reduce the impact on the environment from traditional laundromats, and to continue reducing the impact as technology improves.
A recent survey of our ESL class graduates found that:
100% said they were learning English for their work.
83% said they would take the class here again.
100% rated the level of instruction as perfect.