One day in 2011, Marilyn Hull was visiting a local grocery store to pick up a few needed items. Her heart was touched when she saw what happened to an elderly lady ahead of her in line. The lady had put bread, milk, eggs and a few other food items on the checkout belt, but asked the cashier to check the prices of the next few items so she could get a subtotal cost before paying. Those items included a bar of soap, a bottle of shampoo, dish washing liquid and a small assortment of other household and personal hygiene items.
As the clerk scanned the items and told her the new total, the lady would often say, “No, I’ll have to put that back,” and the cashier would put it behind her register. As this went on for the next few items, Marilyn began to realize what was happening in front of her–because of the lady’s fixed income, she was forced to choose between food and items that most others take for granted. More than once she heard the lady laughed it off and say, “Oh well, that was just extra, I will get that next time.”
Something from deep inside Marilyn spoke and said “You have a laundry room full of ‘extra’ items that this lady and others like her could use.” She realized that we take so much for granted and there are some who consider it a luxury just to be able to buy basic household necessities.
As Marilyn paid for the “extra” items that she already had so many of at home, she became determined to help those who can’t afford the extras for themselves. Struck with inspiration, she bought some laundry baskets, filled them with some of her “extras” and went searching for those in need. She found some right off the bat with the help of a good friend named SaDonna. The looks on the people’s faces when she dropped off a basket at their home became something she would never forget.
She mentioned my new mission on Facebook and the positive response from friends was overwhelming. Many of them asked what they could do to help, so she created a Facebook fan page for Laundry Baskets Full of Love to give her a place to spread the word and report on the lives that have been affected.
So many people began to contact her to donate money, items and time that she registered LBFOL as a legal non-profit organization the contributions would be tax-deductible. Soon, the shelves in her garage were overflowing with supplies, forcing her to expand to a dedicated building to house the supplies and business of helping others.
Each year, LBFOL has participated in community events and parades to introduce others to this growing effort, and has conducted large volunteer events that fill and deliver hundreds of baskets in a single day.
If you would like to help in this effort to help out people who are genuinely in need of the things that you and I take for granted, please visit our page on how you can get involved with Laundry Baskets Full of Love.