Zone 126

CBS NEW YORK: Program helps families pay for laundry in hopes of keeping more kids in school

June 12, 2023 | BY CBS New York

NEW YORK — A new program in Queens is helping keep some kids in school, but it’s not what you might expect.

It provides free laundry services to low-income families to help keep attendance up.

Demetrios Vasiadis, co-owner 14th Laundry, told CBS2 his customers often have to contemplate — “Do I make dinner? Do I do laundry? Or do I help the kid with homework?”

As working parents, it can be hard to find time. But it can be even harder to figure out how to pay for certain things, like laundry.

“Now with inflation and recession worries, we see people counting their quarters and making sure they stretch that quarter as far as it can go,” Vasiadis said.

Sometimes, families discover there just aren’t enough quarters. So for some low-income families, that means no clean clothes to wear — something too embarrassing for parents to talk about on camera.

“One of the reasons they’re not coming to school is the fact that they don’t have clean clothes,” said Dr. Anju J. Rupchandani, executive director of Zone 126.

Dr. Rupchandani says her organization supports local housing developments and schools in the area.

“In the three public housing developments, the median income for a family of four is anywhere between $18,000 to $25,000,” she said.

It’s even an issue the clean energy company Hydro-Quebec noticed when officials toured school 171Q.

“We saw a sign about absenteeism and we stopped and asked, why are so many kids missing school?” said Pete Rose, director of stakeholder relations at Hydro-Quebec. “The principal said one of the main issues is not having access to washers or dryers for clothes.”

So from there, Hydro-Quebec, Zone 126 and 14th Laundry started a unique partnership to change that. They give 30 low-income families in the area several vouchers a month to drop off their clothes and have them washed and folded for free.

While the program started in Queens, it may not end here.

“It should be scaled throughout the entire city, this is a problem everywhere,” Rose said.

The program is expected to last a year but may be expanded based on the progress.

Please click here to view the original article. 

Catch up on the latest

Zone 126
June 10, 2023

ABC NEWS: Program offering free laundry aims to wash troubles away for students in Queens

Read More
Zone 126
June 09, 2023

PATCH: Free Laundry Service Opens For Students In Astoria

Read More
Zone 126
February 17, 2022

Queens Chronicle: LICHS pantry opens

Read More
Zone 126
September 01, 2021

A Decade of Community Impact

Read More
Zone 126
May 26, 2021

Queens Eagle: Queens resident dubbed hunger hero for pandemic pantry efforts

Read More
April 01, 2021

Zone 126 Stands In Solidarity With the AAPI Community

Read More
Family & Community Engagement
December 30, 2019

Celebrating Parents In The Attendance Process

Read More
Young Adults Succeed
December 15, 2019

Conversations with our Youth

Read More
Students Achieve
December 05, 2019

A Hub Has Formed at IS 126Q

Read More
December 01, 2019

Zone 126 Hosts the Queens Borough President Candidate Education Forum

Read More

Keep in Touch

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter and updates.