The man approaching LoveOne volunteer Stephanie posed something of a predicament. He needed to do his laundry, but everything he needed to wash he was wearing. Searching her car, Stephanie managed to rustle up a complete set of clothing. Problem solved. And more. That one act snowballed and LoveOne now offers a collection of clothing to its neighbors in need.
A Clackamas County community-based non-profit offering the most essential of human needs, LoveOne is one of nearly 200 community-based organizations the Oregon Health Authority works with to offer support services as part of the state’s response to COVID-19.
LoveOne hosts ongoing events, including mobile showers and laundry services. At a typical laundry event, neighbors in need receive everything necessary to wash and dry up to three loads of laundry. At the shower events, they get 15 minutes in a shower stocked with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. They’re given a towel and wash cloth, along with a new undershirt, underwear and socks – theirs to keep. There’s also a resource table stocked with personal care items, snacks and other resources.
LoveOne’s recent video about its services comes, aptly enough, with a song from the Beatles – “Love Is All You Need” – a message that underscores its mission and changes lives.
“I’ve been hungry; I’ve been dirty,” said Curtis. “Like 18 days I went without a shower. It was horrible. It’s just existing. I want to live. Without them, I would be … back like I was in the tent, still with nothing.”
For Hope, living on the street for the first time, love may have meant the difference between life and death. “This whole COVID stuff, it just almost killed me. If they wouldn’t have gotten me in the hotel, I probably would have been dead by the end of the year last year. They saved my life.”