The Loads of Love Program officially launched on Monday, Nov. 6 with a ribbon cutting at Magnolia Elementary School.
Being a kid is hard enough. With homework and extra curriculars taking up so much time, students and their families may not have time to make sure school uniforms are ready to go before the first bell rings.
WRCF cut the ribbon on the Loads of Love Program placing laundry centers in schools for children who may not have a way to have their clothes cleaned at home. Nick Sundberg & his wife Flor helped fund & launch the program.
To help with this, Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation kicked off the "Loads of Love" Program, a new initiative that provided washers and dryers to schools in Prince George's County and youth shelters in Washington, D.C. The goal of the program is to remove a barrier for student attendance and participation in after school programs and sports by providing them a discreet solution to the challenge of having clean clothes.
On Monday, Sundberg visited Magnolia Elementary School, one of five locations participating in the pilot year of the Loads of Love program. Sundberg kicked off the event talking to the students and staff on his passion behind the program.
"You guys have enough obstacles in your life being kids," Sundberg said. "The last thing you need to worry about is having clean clothes. I figured if we could remove one of those obstacles out of your way and help you on your way to being successful, we should do that."
Sundberg said his wife, Flor, showed him overwhelming statistics that laundry machines in schools help boost attendance rates and grades. He said this helped spawn the idea last fall.
"We've been working on this for over a year," he said. "The Redskins Charitable Foundation has just been phenomenal in taking a vision and running with it and making it a reality. I wasn't sure if we were ever going to get here, but here we are today and it's wonderful."
The Sundberg's provided a $25,000 donation to launch the program and with the help of community partners such as John E Kelly & Sons Electrical, and O'Connor Plumbing, the Redskins Charitable Foundation provided the necessary resources to participating sites to implement a plan unique to each of their communities.
Magnolia, along with Valley View Elementary School, Andrew Jackson Academy and the Sasha Bruce House and Independent Living facility all received washer and dryer units as well as other supplies to ensure clothes could be washed at the earliest opportunity.
Dr. Phyllis L. Gillens, principal of Magnolia, said this program will resonate throughout Prince George's County schools and will have nothing but a positive impact on the students involved.
"It motivates community, but it also motivates our students to see players not just as football players, but as people who are giving back to the community," she said. "That motivates them even more to give back themselves."
Dr. Gillens added that while the program was initially designed to help students wash their uniforms, there will be additional projects in the future aimed at helping families do all their laundry.
Fatou Dabo, a Magnolia 6th grader, said she has high hopes for "Loads of Love" and that the program will help kids focus less on what they're wearing and more on succeeding in school.
"As a kid, everybody wants to be equal," Dabo said. "They don't want to be treated differently and in a bad way. It's very important that we have washers and dryers so kids can come to school with clean clothes ready to learn."
Before leaving, Sundberg signed his name on the new burgundy and gold painted door to the Loads of Love laundry center. Sundberg said there is no greater joy than reaching out and helping the community, and that there is one reason alone that keeps him involved.
"You see all these kids here today, they're amazing," he said. "Their smiles and laughter, that's what makes it worth it."
The Redskins Charitable Foundation will be launching a grant program for the 2018 – 2019 school year to expand the Loads of Love program and provide other schools throughout the D.C. Metro Area with the opportunity to join the initiative.
Those interested in supporting the expansion of the Loads of Love Program can make a donation to the Redskins Charitable Foundation at www.redskins.com/donate and designate Loads of Love Program in the remarks. All donations are tax deductible.