Home » Features » The Wash and Dry Ministry

The Wash and Dry Ministry

Posted on February 21, 2024, by Jane German CoL

A collage of four photos. Three of which are folks doing laundry at a laundry mat, the fourth photo is a woman moving laundry out of a trunk of a car.
Photo courtesy of the Peace Committee.

Migrants are arriving in El Paso after weeks of traveling on foot across Central America and Mexico. Many stay overnight or for a few days in hospitality shelters run by the diocese, Annunciation House, Sacred Heart parish, the Rescue Mission and the city of El Paso.

The migrants arrive tired, hungry and dirty. They need a place to get something to eat, a place to sleep, a shower and clean clothes. When they leave, they often need transportation to the bus station or airport.

For over a year, Sisters of Loretto Irma Avila, Buffy Boesen, Kathleen Corbett and I have been part of a “Wash and Dry Ministry” laundry group for Sacred Heart parish and St. Ignacio parish (a former Loretto School), and since November, the Rescue Mission. We pick up used blankets and towels (and sometimes clothing) to wash, dry, fold and bag and return to the three centers for new migrants who are arriving. And while it is a small act of kindness on our part, we have developed a lovely community of parishioners and friends. We have experienced so many kindnesses from being part of this laundry community as we do our small acts of kindness for the migrants.

In addition, some members of the El Paso Loretto Community volunteer to transport migrants to bus stations and the airport and/or volunteer one or more times a week in migrant shelters. Simple acts of kindness bring renewed hope for migrants as they journey through El Paso.

  • A clean towel and a chance to take a warm shower.
  • A clean blanket and a chance to sleep on mats or cots inside or to keep warm outside.
  • A used bike or a ball for migrant children to use while playing outside.
  • Clean clothing and new underwear and gently used clothing and jackets for men, women and children.
  • Rides to the bus station or airport as migrants leave El Paso.

As the migrants leave El Paso, they are grateful for the small acts of kindness they have received and have renewed hope for a better future.


Jane German CoL

Jane has been a Loretto Co-member since 1990. She now serves on the Loretto Community Forum. She is currently the Elementary School principal for the PK3 - 5th grade, co-education part of Loretto Academy, a PK3 -12th grade unit school, in El Paso, Texas.
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