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Caroline Gowan began Loads of Love to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award. It is now a ministry of her congregation, Bonaire United Methodist Church.

Squeaky Clean Grace

Cindy Solomon

Abundant Grace

Sometimes God's grace comes in the form of freshly laundered clothes, sheets and towels. Such is the case for the Loads of Love laundry ministry in Bonaire, Georgia.

Caroline Gowan and her mom, Michelle, began Loads of Love by making laundry soap to donate to the food pantry at their church, Bonaire United Methodist.

The soap-making was Caroline's first step toward developing her Girl Scout Gold Award Project — providing quarters and soap at a local laundromat and enlisting volunteers from Bonaire Church to help serve lower income families. Even after she completed the requirements for the award, those involved in the ministry remained passionate about it – and $1,200 remained in the laundry account. "That was how she knew God did not want her to stop doing it," said Michelle.

Soon Loads of Love became an official Bonaire ministry.

On the second Friday of each month, anyone who needs clean clothes is welcome to come to the laundromat.

"We bring the quarters to operate the machines, detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, baskets and a heart for serving the Lord," Caroline said. "While volunteers are washing, drying and folding, we sing praise and worship songs for our guests. They come with dirty laundry and leave with a renewed spirit!"

The ministry helps Shakika Sneed stretch her budget. A single parent, she doesn't have a washer or dryer in her home. "I spend anywhere from $20 to $30 washing clothes, and for it to be free is a tremendous blessing to me because it means that money can go on to another bill that I have," Sneed said. "This is a blessing to me and to the others here."

"I feel like not only am I doing something for the people around me, but that I'm doing something for the Lord," Caroline said. "I am doing Jesus' laundry! No matter how big or small, he would do it, and so can I."

Cindy Solomon is a marketing consultant and content writer living in Franklin, Tennessee. Kara Witherow, editor of the South Georgia Advocate, contributed to this story. Read Witherow's story on Loads of Love, www.sgaumc.org/advnewsdetail/bonaire-umc-teen-launches-laundry-ministry-1864798.

To learn more

Visit the Loads of Love website at http://doingjesuslaundry.weebly.com or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/doingjesuslaundry.