SUDLERSVILLE — The dream of being able to meet the needs of families in the Sudlersville area through a laundromat came to fruition Saturday, June 1. After two years of hard work, a group of community volunteers, working alongside the Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company, opened the doors to the laundromat in the renovated portion of the old Sudlersville Middle School.
Helping lead the project was Ed Modell and his wife, who heard at a Multicultural Proficiency Committee meeting that children were not coming to school because they did not have clean clothes and they were being bullied when they did go to school. Modell said they learned this is a national problem that is being addressed in some areas by programs such as Whirlpool’s CareCounts and by teachers taking their students’ dirty clothes home to wash.
Over the past two years, the group was able to raise $220,000 in grants from the state, county, and private sources with hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.
Co-Chairs Bill Faust and Francis Kinnamon of the Sudlersville Business and Community Center — the new name given to the old Sudlersville Middle School — were there for the ribbon cutting and official opening along with former County Commissioner Mark Anderson, County Commissioner Jack Wilson, Del. Steve Arentz, R-36-QA, and Jean Fabi from the county’s office of Economic Development.
Also attending and very instrumental in leading the effort were Sudlersville Middle School Principal Sean Kenna and Sudlersville Elementary School Principal Tom Walls.
Multiple grants were received to help fund the project, including an Queen Anne’s County Economic Development Incentive Fund Grant in the amount of $41,410, a grant from the Rural Maryland Prosperity Incentive Fund for $48,655 and two other grants totaling just over $120,000 combined from the Mid Shore Community Foundation and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Two smaller grants in the amount of $5,000 each were received from the county and the Upper Shore Regional Council, Modell noted.
Kinnamon said, “This was a great group. We could not have done it without this committee.” He said “Modell was the backbone” to getting the project off the ground financially.
“The project started because of a need for a laundromat, and the last 2 and 1/2 years true, have seen a true collaboration between state and local government and community partnerships,” Modell said.
“It is a very emotional day that couldn’t have been possible without really hard work,” he said. “It is surprising to see what this building looks like now compared to what it was.” And much of that effort came from sweat equity, he said.
Walls and Kenna also helped with contributing Title 1 funds, by combining some of their services with the laundromat’s location.
It truly is a community project, said Kinnamon, and a great effort. He thanked especially the numerous contractors who contributed and the many teachers and other volunteers who put in hours helping and painting after school.
The laundromat will also house books for the Maryland Literacy Council, a part of the Little Free Library program, that will stay stocked with free books to be kept or borrowed and returned, said Kenna. The space will also offer free community wifi — a great need for many in the area, especially students, he said, thanking the fire department for their contribution, “You are serving a lot of local needs here.”
The laundromat is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.