Eaton Township, Wyoming County -- "Look at the clothes. Everything's gone," said Helen Mary Levin of Wilkes-Barre. She brought clothes that needed cleaning Thursday morning to the Tide Loads of Hope laundry program outside the Tunkhannock Walmart Supercenter. It's not her laundry but a friend's whose home was flooded in Tunkhannock. That friend lives on Keelersburg Road in Tunkhannock -- a scene of so much devastation from last week's flood along the Susquehanna River. Flood victim Peggy Scranda lives there, too. "Everybody is so devastated. It really is a disaster," cried Mrs. Scranda. She and her husband could use a helping hand during such a time of duress. After losing the comforts of home, something as little as having clean clothing makes a big difference. "That's really nice of Tide to come out and do something like that for the people. But you don't expect big companies to care."
The Tide Loads of Hope eight-member team washes, dries and even folds flood victims' laundry for free. "People are so grateful for us to be there for their services and it really makes coming out here and putting all the effort in worth it," said Tide team member Erik Cannon. The free mobile laundry program started in 2005 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Since then, this program has evolved to help disaster victims in a dozen states including now in Pennsylvania.
Joyce Hill lives in Tunkhannock but wasn't flooded. She rounded up clothing that needed cleaning from victims in the community. "We have a lot of friends that flooded so I'm going to go house to house today and tell people to bring clothes down," said Mrs. Hill. The Tide Loads of Hope crew will remain for several days doing laundry and helping renew a sense of hope for flood victims in need. "It's one of the most gratifying experiences that any of us has ever had," said Mr. Cannon. "Praise God. Thank you," said Ms. Levin between sobs.
There Is a two laundry load limit per family per day. The Tide Loads of Hope program continues daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through Monday at the Tunkhannock Walmart Supercenter parking lot along Route 29 in Eaton Township.