DC CHARITY SPOTLIGHT: LOADS OF LOVE (LOL)

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For many, it’s a beautiful time of year. Gift giving and marshmallow roasting, cozying up by the fire, time with loved ones. For others, it can be a tough season that amplifies hardships. That’s why it’s important for those who are able to think of this season as a season of giving – not only to those who you hold dear in your life, but perhaps to those who need it most – whether they are friends, family, strangers, or somewhere in-between.

Aside from government organizations, which DC has by the handful, our city is also home to some innovative, inspiring, and necessary charity initiatives. We’re a huge non-profit hub, leading to tons of worthy causes being represented on our streets and beyond.

There are causes (and organizations) both big and small looking to better the world from the starting point of the District. A big influence on the DC scene (and in other cities) can often be large charitable organizations set up by sports teams. In DC, one of those teams is the Washington Redskins.

Now, if you’re rubbing your eyes, humbly confused that DC has a sports team at all, it’s OK. Not everyone is invested in our sports scene, but we’re still in the game. Let me subtly remind you (in case you’ve forgotten) Washington Football is our very own NFL team, representing us against the rest of the East Coast pigskin throwers. We don’t always hold our own (see our 4-12 2014 season), but we try – especially against the Eagles.

If you aren’t a sports fan, I’ve got good news for you: these guys do more than go for touchdowns. In fact, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation works tirelessly to make a difference in our community, focusing mostly on the lives of children. Since its start in 2000, they have donated more than $16M to different aspects of the DC Metro area, with a large amount going toward education, community outreach, and health and wellness.

The impressive and enticing part about large-scale charity organizations such as the Redskins Foundation is that they can touch on more than one issue. Over the course of their existence, they have provided funding for initiatives such as a Special Olympics Flag Football League, Junior Achievement Finance Park, Book Drives, Toys for Tots, and many, many more. Their most recent initiative, as announced in early November, is the Loads of Love (LOL) laundry program.

The team’s snapper, Nick Sundberg was the one to formulate the idea and approach the foundation initially, which he did last Fall, in addition to donating $25,0000 to the kickstart of the program. LOL is a program intended to help young students who are experiencing homelessness or in the midst of an unstable living situation. The program allows them to get laundry done for them at the school they attend, with no cost being passed on to the children or their families.

While laundry might seem like a minuscule issue to some, a short reflection might change minds. Children are shy. Children are bashful. Children are hyper-aware. Children are prone to bullying. Without clean clothes, a student might be too embarrassed or feel unable to attend an after school program, or draw attention to themselves by raising a hand in class.

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According to a news release by the Washington Football team detailing the new program, they’ve found that “studies have shown that placing washers and dryers in schools and offering laundry services to students can help boost attendance rates, class participation, and interest in extra-curricular activities.” The program has already been picked up at Magnolia Elementary school and received support from companies such as JC Penny, John E. Kelly & Sons Electrical and O’Connor Plumbing.

If you’d like to make a donation toward the expansion of this program in the DC area, you can donate at redskins.com/donate and designate the Loads of Love program in the remarks.

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