- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) - The Marion County Disability Action Center continues to create new programs to benefit many members of the community.

The newest program is a service that benefits working families, elderly residents and its clients.

Feel Good Laundry Service lends a hand to residents with the pickup and delivery service.

Chrissy Heldreth, job coach in the laundry room, said the service has more than a dozen customers, and it does about 10 to 15 loads of laundry.

She added that they are there to help working families and the elderly to make things easier.

“We not only do the laundry. We go and get it; we sort it; we wash it, dry it and sort it again,” Heldreth said. “We sort it by men, women and children. That way it is easier when we deliver it; they can just pick it up and put it away. They don’t have to sort it.

“A working mom does not want to go home to get laundry done and then have to sort it out to put it away. We have it all done for them, and we bring it back and drop it off. They are extremely happy.”

Heldreth added they enjoy working the laundry service.

“It is a community; it is a family,” she said.

DAC Executive Director Julie Sole said the Feel Good Landry Service started with a soft opening about two years ago.

“We have had the washers, dryers and all of the equipment back there - from the folders to the steamers to the dryers for almost four years, but we primarily used it for teaching independent living skills, teaching laundry, also helping with fine and gross motor skills and for our clients to gain independence,” she said.

Other than using the laundry equipment once a week or twice a month, the equipment sat idle, which Sole said is why they started the service for the community.

“In the summer of 2015, we primarily marketed the really local places to us, the Marion Unity and the East View Unity. We really tapped into some seniors, so they were our first real pilot project, she said. “After we gained a couple regular customers that way, we then branched out to more businesses and like Chrissy said the working family.”

The service started on a volunteer basis, but Sole said they now have two employees.

“We have Chrissy as the job coach; we have Jordan (McNemar) as the full-time laundry attendant; we have Amy (Tatterson) who volunteers in laundry, and we also have Aggie who volunteers in laundry. We are using it for both job training and employment. As the trainees hone their skills, we are able to place them in the paid position once the amount of work lends itself to hiring more people.”

Heldreth said they want to keep growing so they can hopefully employ more clients.

“It helps them get a paycheck. It gives them work experience, and they feel good about themselves,” she said.

Tatterson said she enjoys volunteering in laundry, and her favorite parts are folding clothes and helping people in the community.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “They are nice people.”

Heldreth said clients are also learning customer-service skills.

“The customers love seeing us come too,” she said. “We have bonded with some of the customers. We have an elderly lady in an apartment building, and even the people in the apartment buildings when they see me coming they will tell me jokes and say hi. I think they wait for us to come.”

The pickup and delivery service is available for residential and commercial members of the community.

According to the service’s flyer, “By choosing to support an individual with disabilities in the workforce you not only receive a quality service, but you create an environment to ‘Feel good, do good and live good.’”

Sole added the DAC is so much more than people with disabilities, and officials want to bring more people to the center to see the value of everyone.

Residential prices are: $1.25/pound of clothes with one-time fee. $40 a month for up to 50 pounds of clothes with a monthly plan. The family monthly plan is $100 a month for up to 125 pounds of clothes, within city-limits, and up to 50 pounds of laundry. Add 25 cents a mile for outside city limits.

Starch and ironing are available at an additional cost.

“We do anything from socks to bedding,” Heldreth said. “There is not much we don’t do.”

Free pickup and delivery in city limits is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Customers can drop off or pick up laundry any time between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Customers can supply their own detergent if they chose, but the DAC supplies Tide products. An all-natural detergent option is available as well.

For starch and ironing/steaming prices and for business and commercial prices, contact the DAC at 304-366-3213.

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Information from: Times West Virginian, https://www.timeswv.com


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