Operation Clean Duds, Recipient

How would you feel if you didn’t have clean clothes to wear? Unfortunately, this is a situation faced by many people going through difficult times. And it’s something Jasmine Conley, founder of Operation Clean Duds, wants to change. In January 2021, after having repeated dreams about buying a laundromat, Conley decided to make it her mission to help people with their laundry. She first went online to share her idea on social media. To her surprise, she raised $150 within the first few hours. At her friend’s encouragement, she got in touch with the University of Toledo College of Law for help with writing by-laws and other legal documents. As a newly registered nonprofit in Ohio, Conley was ready to start making a difference in people’s lives. “No one should be made to feel less than,” Conley said. “It’s not their fault. People don’t realize they’re one or two tragedies away from a very different life.” How promotional laundry bags and supplies help people feel confident and comfortable Operation Clean Duds works by forming relationships with various laundromat owners in the area and hosting free laundry events at those locations. Conley and her volunteers provide detergent, dryer sheets and promotional laundry bags for individuals and families attending the events. Clients handle their own clothing, but Operation Clean Duds provides quarters for free laundry. According to Conley, the ability to handle their own clothing increases trust between the organization and its clients. Two women holding a laundry bag imprinted with a logo. “Homeless individuals or individuals living in shelters may set down their clothes and have them get stolen, so they don’t have extras,” Conley said. “With us, they can wash, dry and leave with their clothes, so they feel better.” Operation Clean Duds also provides other goodies for the family, like donuts from a local bakery or coloring books for children. Many of Conley’s clients share stories about difficult circumstances that resulted in seeking assistance from Operation Clean Duds, including illness, loss of a job or domestic violence. “Some of my clients become like extended family,” Conley said. “They come in, get help and we’ll listen to any story they’ve got.” Conley also partners with other nonprofits in the area to help improve access to other services. For example, some organizations provide gift cards or education sessions at the laundry events, including tips for job interviews or money-saving ideas. Conley was even able to secure a donation of about $100 worth of groceries for a client’s family when their food supply was running low. “People sometimes have to choose between buying groceries, paying for electricity or washing clothes,” Conley said. “If you happen to have a car break down, you’re in-between jobs, you get COVID or inflation is taking all your money, that’s what I’m here for.” As a former medic in the U.S. Army, Conley understands the importance of mental health and cleanliness for someone’s overall well-being. “I look at health and mental health a lot,” Conley said. “If you’re wearing dirty clothes, you feel bad. If you’re sick and wearing your sick clothes, you may not be able to get better as quickly. Some people may not have options. It’s not something you may think about if you haven’t struggled with not having clean clothes before.”

For more information about Operation Clean Duds, please visit https://operationcleanduds.org/ opens in new window