Want to help out with flood recovery, but can’t do heavy lifting or hard labour? A laundry shift, helping displaced families get clean dry clothes, could be for you.

The Cyclone Laundry Network was initially formed to help affected families and the volunteers who came to the Bay to pitch in for the flood cleanup. Many would work hard all day and come home covered in mud and then need to spend two hours at the laundromat – or even throw away their clothes.

George Miller and Annabelle Mason decided to gather volunteers and do the laundry for families and the workers, and soon they had over 200 sign ups.

But Miller said that once things moved from emergency response to recovery, demand dropped and things petered out. There is still a core team of about 12 volunteers , but since winter kicked in, demand is once again increasing.

A lot of the people they are helping now are displaced families in emergency housing, people who have kids and no laundry facilities. So she’s back on the case to enlist laundry volunteers and increase capacity again.

“It’s ramped up again just recently, people are really battling in emergency housing with no laundries. One family we are going to start helping have moved five times since February and have two little ones. It must be torture. 

“So we do their laundry and take one burden off them. Demand is increasing because it’s winter and people can’t get their clothes dry. A lot of them have been using laundromats but it’s expensive, especially when they’re also trying to sort out cyclone costs, insurance etc.”

Previously they were operating out of the Havelock North Rugby Club, but now it’s rugby season this is no longer an option. Miller approached Mr Apple to see if they had any spare facilities and it turns out that they had an empty RSE property with five commercial machines and washers.

“We did a little test run and the potential is huge. We could do one morning and one afternoon shift five to six days a week but we don’t have the manpower at the moment.”

So, next weekend the Cyclone Laundry Network is hosting an open day at the Mr Apple laundry hub to show potential helpers what’s involved and sign up more volunteers.

Miller has also managed to secure a bit of support from the Evergreen Foundation, who will help provide the laundry volunteers with refreshments at the hub, and fuel vouchers for those trekking around town on their laundry missions.

The event will be held between 10am and 12pm, Saturday 1 July at 501 Williams Street, Hastings.

“We did a test run last week with 2 x 2.5-hour shifts and got through 25 loads of laundry – so the potential is huge if we can get enough volunteers to help,” Miller said.

Many many thanks to Langes A1 Appliance Servicing Ltd for helping us to get a dryer and a washing machine back into action free of charge

Public interest journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.


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  1. What an inspiring initiative! Offering a helping hand to families in need is truly heartwarming. It is lovely to see the Hawke’s Bay community come together and make a positive impact in our community!

    Thanks, Jim

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