Pomona woman behind Laundry of Love nominated for ABC7's 'Pay it Forward' contest

POMONA, Calif. (KABC) -- Clean clothes. It's something so many of us take for granted. But it's something so many others consider a luxury.

This is especially true in Southern California, home to the highest number of unsheltered people in the country.

That's where Jullie McCurdy and Laundry of Love come in.

"We were thinking, how can we you know, give back," said McCurdy.

The nationwide initiative was founded 15 years ago, after asking those experiencing homelessness how they could best be helped.

"He said if I had clean clothes, people would treat me more like a human being. And from that, Laundry of Love was born," McCurdy said.

Five years ago, McCurdy launched the service in her community of Pomona. She partnered with a local laundromat. Every month, homeless and low income families can do up to 12 loads of laundry for free.

"You can see they come with loads and loads and loads of laundry. We do you know, 20, 30, 40 loads a person," McCurdy said.

Laundry of Love Pomona has washed more than 20,000 loads of laundry.

"Clean clothes matter, and it's really important we just love our brothers and sisters," McCurdy said.

Those who volunteer alongside McCurdy describe her as a super hero who saw a problem and swooped down to help fix it.

"Whatever she does, she does with her whole heart," said Joanne Martin, who volunteers for Laundry of Love. "People can recognize that."

"She just gives herself to those in need in so many ways," said Jessie Smith, a priest who also volunteers for Laundry of Love.

McCurdy gives so much to others, despite facing challenges of her own.

"It's really hard when you lose your job you lose your whole identity. You lose your whole identity. And so this program has actually kind of put things into perspective for me. In a sense that I have so much to be grateful for," McCurdy said.

McCurdy finds comfort in the many success stories. She shares pictures of former guests who are now back on their feet, with full-time jobs, and a roof over their heads.

These families have a deep appreciation for the impact clean clothes had on their lives.

McCurdy is one of three "Pay It Forward" finalists announced this week leading up to Friday's big reveal. That's when the grand prize winner of $10,000 from Mathis Brothers will be announced.
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