EAST ELMHURST — A laundromat owner is washing and delivering clean clothes for 75 families at a nearby shelter — without charge — "in the spirit of Easter," he said.
Samuel Van De Cruze — a former social worker who owns Mr. Bubble's on Astoria Boulevard — is picking up around 1,000 pounds of laundry each night this week from families living at The Landing, on Ditmars Boulevard, he said.
He decided to help because it's a basic need.
"People need their clothes cleaned," he said. "You need shelter, you need food and you need clean clothes."
He started picking up laundry at the shelter on Monday, and has so far cleaned 1,300 lbs. He expects to reach approximately 5,000 lbs by the end of the week.
He and his staff wash, dry and fold the clothes through the night and deliver them back to the shelter by 7 a.m. the day after pickup.
Van De Cruze has owned the laundromat since December and estimates he'll spend around $5,000 once he's finished.
But it's worth it to ease some of the financial burden from residents of the family shelter, which opened last summer, he said.
Elizabeth Abdur-Raheem, the Senior Program Manager at The Landing, said 75 families will benefit from the free laundry services.
"These kind of heartfelt and thoughtful gestures are why we are so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received from the East Elmhurst community," she said.
One resident, Catina, said she spends $30 a week on laundry. The donation from Mr. Bubbles saves her cash and the time it takes to bring her toddler to the laundromat.
“This donations means that this week both she and I won’t have to go through that — and I will be able to save this $30 for something else," she said.