CCISD holds 6th annual Laundry Day to benefit Communities in Schools
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Members of the Five Hills Scholarship pageant royalty and volunteers spent their Friday morning loading nearly all 90 washing machines and 100 dryers at Wells Laundry for the sixth annual Copperas Cove Independent School District Laundry Day.
Starting at 8 a.m., the youth washed, dried, folded and sorted more than 2,000 pounds of clothing in addition to collecting backpacks, lunch boxes and shoes. The amount of clothes washed and dried was calculated using the load capacity of the washers - for example, a 100-pound washer equals 100pounds of clothing.
Over the last week, the royalty and other volunteers collected all of the lost and found clothing items from each of CCISD’s 11 campuses, all in preparation for Laundry Day.
The school district had sent out messages to parents about items left behind at campuses, after they first closed in March and the district changed to at-home learning, said CCISD Communications Director and volunteer pageant director Wendy Sledd.
Junior Miss Five Hills Hayley Sawyer, whose platform is Hayley Helps the Homeless, hosted this year’s Laundry Day. Sawyer also hosted Laundry Day in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, Sawyer still has her crown until the Five Hills Scholarship Pageant will be held virtually on Saturday, May 30.
“It feels amazing to be offered the opportunity to do this event once again because every time it always helps more homeless students,” Sawyer said.
Once the items were sorted, representatives from Communities in Schools came to select whatever they needed to replenish the clothing pantries at the schools for the next school year.
Communities in Schools will offer these clothing items to students in need, at no cost.
Last year, Sledd said she received a picture from a CIS representative of a young girl who had picked out a nice dress from the clothes pantry and was so happy with her choice.
“You just don’t realize the difference it makes to have nice clothes you can be proud of,” Sledd said.
Whatever CIS does not take will go to the Optimist Thrift Store in Cove Terrace Shopping Center. Throughout the school year, the Optimist Thrift Store is open to the students and the school district and the Optimist Club helps out whenever needed.
“They are a huge partner to the school district, so this is one way we can pay them back, and eventually it comes back to our students anyway,” Sledd added.
Every year, Wells Laundry fully covers the cost of operating the washers and dryers for Laundry Day.
“The great thing is that first time we called [Wells Laundry], they never said no, and then every year, they’ve come back and said, ‘We’ll help you. We’ll help the kids,’” Sledd said.
Owner of the Copperas Cove Wells Laundry, Kelli Wells Beason, shared that she has been involved for the past three years.
“The last three years, the pageant girls have come through and done it, and we’ve built a relationship between the laundromat and helping Communities in Schools, so that the kids when school does start, they’ll have clothes to wear. It’s just something we enjoy every year giving back to the community and letting these kids have clean clothes when they do need them when situations arise when school starts,” Beason said.
Beason is a former educator and understands how important it is for these clothes to be available.
“Kids have accidents,” Beason said. “Things occur during the school day, so just letting them have a clean set of clothes that they can grab and go and know they’re coming home in something clean, they’re coming home in something that’s been washed and been sanitized and gone through that process. We just appreciate that they come back to us year and year, and we’re glad to do it and partner with them.”