Laundry machines at school wash away worries

Something very special is happening inside the schools of the Riverview Gardens School District.

ST. LOUIS - Mom Sarai Wykoff recently spent the day doing all her kids' laundry at their school, Moline Elementary in north St. Louis County. That way, they wouldn't have to worry about having a clean uniform when they come back to the school.

"They come to school fresh as a daisy. They pick out their clothes and say, 'Mommy I want to wear this. Mommy I want to wear that,'" said Wykoff.

But it wasn't always this way. Wykoff is one of many parents in the Riverview Gardens School District who struggles with this issue. She doesn't have access to a washer and dryer, which means her kids' school uniforms didn't always get cleaned.

"You know that when you send them to school with dirty clothes, either someone is going to make fun of them, or they're going to smell bad," she said.

The struggle has left Wykoff having to make a difficult decision.

"Do I send them to school with dirty clothes, or do I keep them home?"

It's something Wykoff no longer has to worry about.

Her kids' school is one of 11 in the district that now has a Whirlpool washer and dryer. It's part of the new Whirlpool Care Counts program. The hope is to increase attendance in public schools across the country by donating the laundry machines.

"We truly believe that a simple act of care can have a huge impact not only on families, but on communities and the world around us," said Chelsey Lindstrom, Whirlpool brand manager..

This school year is the first for the program, and already Moline's principal Lisa Thompson has seen the positive impact.

"Last year's attendance compared to this year's attendance has greatly improved," said Thompson.

Clean clothes and increased attendance aren't the only positives to come out of the new washers and dryers; parent involvement is at an all-time high.

Riverview Gardens is one of two school districts in the country that has been chosen by Whirlpool for the program. They're expanding it to four more this year, including Nashville, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Michigan.


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