People You Should Know: Restoring dignity one wash at a time

Evan S., Staff Writer

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No matter where you go, they will always be there. People in poverty, homeless and nowhere to turn. It seems like everyone wants to help, but no one knows how. Apple engineer Ron Powers though has an idea.

In 2014, a nonprofit named Orange Sky Laundry released a video about how they helped the homeless in Australia. Powers saw the video, and wanted to help like they did. As a christian, he wanted to move from preaching about help and help in his own way. “I was just in prayer going Lord, you know, I want to do more”. He later recalls walking around the town after his Bible studies, and taking every opportunity to connect with the homeless.

While walking, he saw one of their biggest struggles: dirty clothing. He recalled that the homeless would throw away dirty socks and other clothing because they simply didn’t have enough money to wash their dirty clothes and buy food, which was a nearly impossible decision. He knew that he could help with the problem of dirty clothing.

He decided to do what Orange Sky did, but on a smaller level for the city of Santa Cruz and the homeless that inhabited the city. He went on Craigslist and found a used van, washer, and dryer, using his background as an engineer to get them. When he first started the project, he stated he was more worried about getting everything to work than serving those he wanted to help.

Powers eventually got everything up and running, and started helping the homeless by washing their dirty clothes. He spends multiple days a week helping people out, and connecting with everyone he helps. Once he started to gain fame, he opened it up as a service, allowing opportunities for anyone to help. All in all, his act of leadership and kindness should be brought to more people’s attention. Powers has achieved his goal of “restoring dignity to people who can’t themselves.”

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