Saranac grad using laundry to help students build confidence

Posted at 10:35 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 15:37:09-04

SARANAC, Mich. — For most of us, laundry is a chore worthy of our best procrastination efforts. But for some students in the Saranac school system, it’s a godsend.

Tucked away in a small room of the building is a place just for that purpose.

Thanks to the efforts of a Saranac High School alumna and her “partner in crime”, more and more of them are taking advantage of a new space that allows them to wash up and leave with more confidence.

“A lot of students just don’t have access to these things at home that a lot of people take for granted,” said Allison Willis, a graduate of Saranac High School. “I just hope it gets used a lot.”

Willis and her friend, Patti Feeback, who has a student at the high school now, got the idea after seeing a Facebook article about another school offering free laundry services to students.

“I thought, ‘you know, that’s a really good idea,’” said Willis. “We could use this in our school district and a lot of students here really would benefit from it.”

Many already are. The all-in-one washer/dryer allows them to finish loads in just minutes, and lining the walls are food, new and gently used clothes, and hygiene supplies for students – any student – to take with no questions asked.

“They can kind of take control of that part of their lives,” said Feeback. “Come take what you need – it’s yours. Anything in this room is yours to take and we’re happy to help you.”

“It was a wonderful partnership with community members and parents,” said Saranac High School Principal Josh Leader. “A more comfortable student is a student who is able to learn.”

“Even if it helps one student, that’s the goal, right?” said Willis. “Even if it just helps one student feel better about themselves.”

The entire operation is donor-funded. Meijer has even stepped in to provide gift cards to resupply the shelves.